On February 11, Italy’s second largest airline, operating scheduled and charter flights, announced its liquidation. The shareholders ’decision put an end to the air carrier’s attempt to get out of the plight.

The company was founded not long ago, on February 19, 2018. On this day, the merger of the airline “Meridiana” and its subsidiary, resulting in the formation of “Air Italy”, was announced at a press conference in Milan. Formally, it has existed since 2013, but in 2018 the company got the opportunity to develop as an independent brand, claiming to become number one in Italy.

The market situation was most suitable for this at that time, since the largest Italian airline “Alitalia” in May 2017 began to go bankrupt. The Italian government even extended the loan until the fall of 2018 so that the national carrier continues to carry out the flights. It was rumored that the German “Lufthansa” would be able to acquire “Alitalia's” attractive assets for ˆ 500 million, thereby preserving jobs and flight routes. As a result, the company remained in the market.

But let us return to “Air Italy”. After the conference in Milan, the airline restarted the website, repainted the planes and changed the uniform for the brand. “Air Italy” began to carry out new flights around the world and, in particular, to the USA. And then there was a scandal over public accusations of the Italian carrier of financial support from “Qatar Airways”.

“Air Italy” is a subsidiary of “AQA Holding”. Its 49% belong to the “Qatar Airlines”, and 51% to “Alisarda” (it was “Meridiana” that became its successor). Letters and accusations, reached the Secretary of State and leading American media. The Italians, like the representatives of Qatar, had to make excuses, pointing out that the “Qatari Airlines” are only shareholders and do not violate the "open skies" policy. Flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto became seasonal.

As a result, over two years, investors spent significant financial resources in order to replenish the fleet and launch new international routes (New York, Miami, Bangkok, New Delhi). The first year of operation was unprofitable by ˆ 164 million, the next period brought even greater losses (ˆ 200 million). Now the company has to leave the market by the decision of its owners.

By the way, the Italian ministers were shocked by the information on the liquidation, posted on the website. Some of them even began to speak out about the need for prior notification and discussion of alternatives, but a decision has already been made. Passengers were informed that between February 11 and 25, they will be able to fly with other carriers on tickets purchased. Those, who bought tickets at a later date, were promised to be given a refund. So, “Alitalia” will remain the leader among air carriers in Italy in the nearest future, and the failed competitor will leave the market.


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