Following Qatar Airways’ 2017 purchase of 49% of Meridiana from Alisarda and the airline’s subsequent relaunch as Air Italy in February of this year, the Middle Eastern carrier has announced a new codeshare between the two airlines.
The agreement provides codeshares on the Italian airline’s routes between Milan-Malpensa Airport and six domestic cities across Italy, including Catania (CTA), Rome (FCO), Naples (NAP), Olbia (OLB), Palermo (PMO) and Calabria (SUF), as well as its route between Rome Fiumicino Airport and Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB).
“This codeshare between Qatar Airways and Air Italy demonstrates the strengthening ties between Italy and Qatar; two countries that share many economic affiliations.”
From Meridiana to Air Italy
The new Air Italy was formed as reaction to the country’s flag carrier Alitalia being placed into administration. Seeking to capitalise on the situation, a rebrand strategy was formed to merge Meridiana with former subsidiary, the old Air Italy.
A new organisation AQA Holding was founded in September 2017 to act as the parent company of the restructured airline, after Qatar Airways bought a 49% stake in Meridiana from Alisarda (still majority shareholders). On 1 March 2018, it officially began operation, with Meridiana IATA and ICAO code merged into Air Italy, and the Meridiana website was updated to airitaly.com.
The airline now aims to acquire 50 aircraft by 2022, and has already committed to receiving 20 brand new Boeing 737-Max aircraft type, starting in this month.
Qatar Airways has been operating 42 weekly flights from its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, to Italy. From 24 April the partners will also offer codeshare flights on all of Qatar Airways’ Italy to Doha services along with two further routes on the Qatar Airways network to Singapore and Male.