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Meridiana has rebranded as Air Italy
From 1st March 2018, Meridiana has been re-branded as Air Italy. Starting from May 2018, Air Italy will add new domestic routes from Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme scheduled for connection to its newest long-range destinations including New York, Miami and Bangkok (starting in September 2018). Its network will also encompass direct international flights from Milan Malpensa to Accra, Cairo, Dakar, Havana, Lagos, Mombasa, Moscow, Zanzibar and, from its Olbia Costa Smeralda hub, as well as year-round scheduled services to Rome, Milan Linate and seasonal ones to a wide range of domestic and regional destinations. Search for Air Italy tickets above, or visit our Air Italy page.
Meridiana, legally Meridiana fly S.p.A. and formerly operating as Meridiana fly, was a privately owned Italian airline headquartered in Olbia with its main base at Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport. The airline operated scheduled and charter flights to domestic, European and intercontinental destinations from several Italian bases. The company AKFED has interest in the Meridiana company, but primarily owns the company Air Burkina and previously Air Mali and Air Uganda.
Meridian flew to many destinations including Zanzibar, Athens, Bari, Tel Aviv, Brussels, Cagliari, Catania, Paris, Chisinau, Moscow, Geneva, Bologna, Heraklion, Ibiza, New York, Kos, La Romana, London, Dakar, Madrid, Milan, Male, Valencia, Mykonos, Naples, Verona, Turin, Trieste, Rhodes, Santorini, Saint Petersburg, Palmero, Nice and others. Some of its operations were carried out by its subsidiary Air Italy under the Meridiana brand. Meridiana has an overall fleet of 20 aircraft consisting of McDonnell Douglas MD82, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-300 and Boeing 767-300.
Meridiana Frequent Flyer Program
Meridiana operated a frequent flyers program called Meridiana Club to reward regular travellers, in partnership with Avios. Avios is the reward currency of frequent flyer programs run by Iberia, British Airways and Meridiana. Avios can be collected as everyday purchases with the help of a card similar to a credit card.
Avios are awarded from the moment the flight is booked and can be summed to those earned with flights from Iberia and British Airways in connection flights or flights completely booked with them. They can be exchanged for reward flights with any of the airlines that make this alliance.
Meridiana Club offered different levels of membership in order to reward its regular passengers. One level was Fly Pass Silver, which gave passengers access to the special check-in counters which had no queuing time.
Meridiana offered special perks to passengers holding the Fly Pass Gold and Fly Pass Silver membership. These memberships gave passengers access to special check-in desks at all major Italian airports, where they could collect their boarding card and avoid queues and lengthy waiting times.
Meridiana club had dedicated phone number for customer service, earlier flight service, reserved check-in desks, allocation of onboard seating, a VIP Lounge, reserved access to the security checks at the main Italian airports, priority baggage collection, among other perks.
Meridiana Frequent Flyer Program
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1st March 2018
Meridiana rebrands as AIR Italy
Italian leisure carrier Meridiana has been officially relaunched as Air Italy, less than two weeks after the new name was announced. The name Air Italy was already within the airline’s portfolio of brands, as the title of a charter operator that Sardinia-based Meridiana acquired in 2011. The former Air Italy was incorporated into Meridiana and acted as a capacity provider for the latter company. However, Air Italy has now become the name for the entire group.
20th February 2018
AIR ITALY is Europe's newest airline!
The rebrand of Meridiana to Air Italy is set to supply passengers cheaper flights from the U.S. to Italy as soon as this summer. The Italian airline Meridiana is no more. Starting today, the carrier that’s probably best known for its flights to The Italian Islands, such as Sardinia, is now called Air Italy. As part of the rebrand, its planes will get a fresh new look with teal-and-purple graphic elements on the tail and clean, all-caps type on the side of planes.
If that shade of purple looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Qatar Airways jets. The Gulf airline now owns 49 percent of Air Italy and has been instrumental in revamping Meridiana. It's heavily invested in the airlines to the modest prediction of millions of dollars, as well as providing some planes for the fleet: Air Italy will acquire at least 20 new jets over the next three years, the airline says, plus at least five wide-body jets from the Qatar Airways fleet. That’s important because Air Italy has big ambitions to become a major rival to Alitalia.
“Air Italy has an ambition to reach a goal of transporting 10 million passengers per year by 2022 traveling to, from, and via Italy,” Meridiana Chairman Francesco Violante said in a statement. “We expect more than 8 million of these to use Milan Malpensa airport.” Air Italy plans to start flying from Milan to both Miami and New York by this June. They’ll also add additional flights from Milan to Catania, Naples, Palermo, and Rome—plus the small Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme—this year, making the carrier a convenient alternative to train travel within Italy. While Air Italy hasn’t announced any details on cabin amenities, ticket prices will be “affordable,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement.
2nd February 2018
Meridiana launches summer flights between Milan and Miami
The Italian airline will offer a direct service between Milan-Malpensa Airport and Miami International Airport: the second airline to launch a Miami based route this year. The flights are scheduled to be 4 times a week from June 8th. Meridiana now has two US destinations at its disposal.
The airline will increase MIA’s service options to Italy, which includes nonstop flights to Milan by American Airlines and flights to Rome by Alitalia. The airport serves more than 288,000 passengers annually to and from Italy. Meridiana's launch also comes about as more Italian companies are seeing Miami as place to do business, according to Mario Sacasa, senior vice president of international economic development programs at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council.
"We are working on some requests from Italian companies," Sacasa said. "We are in the preliminary stage, there is definitely an interest." There were 27 Italian companies that were headquartered in Miami in 2016, according to the trade publication WorldCity. Based on the data, Italy was also PortMiami's 12th largest trade partner. In 2016, PortMiami's trade with Italy doubled since 2014 to $480.58 million based on the data. To launch the new destination, economy roundtrip fares will begin from Milan to Miami starting at $489.
18th December 2017
Meridiana fly announces first US routes, fleet growth
Meridiana fly (IG, Olbia) will launch flights from Milan Malpensa to New York JFK and Miami Int'l, its first year round North American services. While Meridiana previously offered non-stop summer only services from both Naples and Palermo to New York's John F. Kennedy airport, these services are not currently being offered for sale yet for the upcoming summer 2018 season.
The Italian carrier will also add B737 MAX 8s and two ex-Qatar Airways A330-200s to its fleet. The announcement is the first detailing the carrier's new strategy after Qatar Airways finalised its investment in Meridiana, taking over 49% of shares. The A330-200s will be operated by subsidiary Air Italy (I9, Milan Malpensa) according to ch-aviation analysis of schedule data. Flights from Milan Malpensa to New York JFK will be operated daily from June 1, 2018, while the route to Miami will launch on June 8, 2018, and will be operated 4x weekly. A twice weekly A330 service from Malpensa to Havana Int'l will commence on September 4 replacing B767-300(ER) equipment on the route.
Meridiana fly also announced five new domestic services from Malpensa: to Rome Fiumicino (21x weekly from May 1), Naples Int'l (14x weekly from May 1), Palermo (14x weekly from May 1), Catania(14x weekly from July 2) and Lamezia Terme (14x weekly from September 1).
The announced plans mark a significant expansion of the carrier's presence at Milan Malpensa. According to the ch-aviation capacity module, Meridiana fly currently operates 28 weekly departures from the Northern Italian hub. The airline's schedule for summer 2018 out of Malpensa will grow to seventeen routes from the current eleven.
According to the ch-aviation capacity module, the airline currently operates mainly from Milan Linate(52 weekly departures) and Olbia (44 weekly departures). But as part of its new strategy, Meridiana will cut all routes out of Linate with the exception of a three times daily service to Olbia from January 19, 2018. Qatar Airways has previously announced its intention to develop Meridiana fly into a "new flag carrier" for Italy, replacing the ailing Alitalia.
According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Meridiana fly currently operates a fleet of thirteen active aircraft, including eight B737-800s, one B737-700 and three B767-300(ER)s. The airline plans to retire all its wide-body Boeing aircraft by early 2019 and replace them with a total of five ex-Qatar Airways A330-200s.
18th December 2017
New beginnings get under way at Meridiana
Italian carrier Meridiana, the subject of a 49% shareholding buy-in by Qatar Airways, intimated the first tangible signs of the Arab carrier’s influence Dec. 14 with announcements of initial fleet upgrades and route network expansion. In a statement released after close of business in Italy, the airline released details of a swathe of new destinations to which it will operate in its summer 2018 timetable and said it would operate two new models of aircraft next year.
9th November 2017
Meridiana considering rebranding as Air Italy
Meridiana fly (IG, Olbia) is considering rebranding itself as Air Italy (I9, Milan Malpensa) with no firm decision having yet been taken an airline spokeswoman has told ch-aviation.
"Meridiana clarifies that the issue is still under analysis," Loredana de Filippo said in an e-mailed statement. "In any case, it regards the brand and not the corporate assets of the Group."
The comments come after Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) chief executive Akbar al Baker this week said that the switch to the Air Italy brand would better identify Meridiana as the national carrier of Italy.
Qatar Airways acquired a 49% stake in Meridiana's parent AQA Holding earlier this year with plans to revamp the ailing Sardinia-based airline's operations.
According to al Baker the purchase, along with a variety of other equity investments that culminated in the acquisition of a near 10% stake in Cathay Pacific earlier this week, are part of a grander scheme to develop a 'virtual mega-carrier'.
"I see a lot of synergies we could bring as a group," he was quoted by Reuters. "I hope that one day in the not too distant future we all, these four groups, get together and exchange shareholdings in each other so that we will become a real mega-carrier. That is something that some people have tried, but not successfully."
30th October 2017
Meridiana to conclude scheduled MD-80 flights on 31 October
Meridiana is to operate its final scheduled Being MD-80 flight at the end of the month.
The Italian carrier says the jet will be used to operate a domestic service between Rome Fiumicino and Sardinian city Olbia on 31 October before exiting scheduled operations – though it will remain available for "single specific rotations" until spring 2018, when replacement of MD-80s with Boeing 737 is completed.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Merdiana has four MD-80s – three MD-82s and one MD-83 – and eight 737NGs in a fleet that also includes four 767s.
4th December 2017
Meridiana adds limited-time Egypt service in W17
Italian carrier Meridiana during Christmas and New Year period plans to offer additional route to Egypt, including Marsa Alam and Sharm el Sheikh. Operated by Air Italy Boeing 737-800 aircraft, planned service as follow.
Naples – Marsa Alam 21DEC17 – 04JAN18 1 weekly (Day 4)
Naples – Sharm el Sheikh 26DEC17 – 08JAN18 1 weekly (Day 2)
Rome – Marsa Alam 22DEC17 – 05JAN18 1 weekly (Day 5)
29th September 2017
Qatar Airways expands airline investments with Italy's Meridiana
Qatar Airways said on Thursday it had acquired a 49 percent stake in AQA Holding, the new parent company of Italy’s Meridiana, adding to its growing portfolio of investments in foreign airlines.
Previous sole owner Alisarda retains 51 percent, the major Middle East airline said in a statement.
Loss-making, Sardinia-based Meridiana is Italy’s second largest carrier behind Alitalia which is partly owned by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. Alitalia filed for administration earlier this year.
The value of the Meridiana acquisition was not given, and the deal was finalised after protracted negotiations that formally started more than a year ago.
“We are delighted to formalize this important partnership, which will help increase Meridiana’s competitiveness in the European market,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the deal represented a turnaround for Meridiana and would help Italy’s tourism industry, especially in the poorer south of the country.
Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said it would ensure job security for Meridiana workers, and created the potential for future job growth.
Alisarda Chairman Marco Rigotti has been appointed chairman of AQA Holding, and Francesco Violante has been appointed as chairman of Meridiana.
A new strategy and chief executive for Meridiana would be announced in “due course,” but al-Baker said Qatar Airways would work with Meridiana to improve its connectivity to Italy, other European destinations, and to the United States.
Al-Baker has said Meridiana would use Boeing 737 MAXs ordered by Qatar Airways, with 20 to be delivered to the Italian airline from the second quarter of 2018.
Meridiana, which offers flights to and from Sardinia and other destinations in Italy, was until now fully owned by the Aga Khan, a businessman and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims.
Qatar Airways bought the Meridiana stake nearly four months into a Gulf political crisis that has seen some Arab states cut ties with Qatar, and the airline banned from flying to some Middle East cities.
Qatar Airways also owns minority stakes in British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) and South America’s LATAM Airlines.
Earlier this year, Qatar Airways tried to add American Airlines to its portfolio of minority stakes but later backed away after being rebuked by American’s management. It has also expressed interest in Royal Air Maroc
Qatar Airways has said it buys stakes in airlines that it believes are good investments, and lets them operate as businesses distinct from the Gulf carrier.
11th September 2017
Italian Transport Minister working to secure Meridiana/Qatar Airways partnership
Italy's Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Graziano Delrio, via his personal Facebook account, confirmed (06-Sep-2017) a meeting with Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker. Mr Delrio stated the meeting focused on "guarantees on the conclusion of the agreement with Meridiana and confirmation of the ambitious investment plan envisaged". Mr Delrio said Mr Al Baker has "great interest in developing links to and from Italy through partnership with Meridiana".
3rd July 2017
Meridiana / Qatar Airways deal thrown off by Gulf Crises
Italy's Minister of Transport, Graziano del Rio, has confirmed the Qatar diplomatic crisis has resulted in delays in the signing of a 49/51 joint-venture between Qatar Airways and Meridiana fly. The Qatari carrier had until June 30 to contribute EUR39.2 million (USD41.5 million) to Meridiana's new holding company, Aqa Holding, as part of the deal. Despite the mid-year deadline, the deal was expected to be finalized by May. At last month's 2017 Paris Air Show, al-Baker told reporters that Qatar Airways would place an unspecified number of B737 MAX 8s with Meridiana sourced from its LOI with Boeing for sixty.
7th June 2017
Meridiana fly has wet-leased a Fokker 100 from Croatian ACMI/charter specialist Trade Air
According to schedule data, as of June 1, 9A-BTD (msn 11407) has been based out of Milan Linate for use in serving each of Munich, Ibiza, Marseilles, Lampedusa, Santorini, and Catania. The contract will run for one month initially extendable for another three if need be.
The Sardinian carrier has also wet-leased an A319-100 from Cyprus's Cobalt for use in running regular flights from its Cagliari hub to the Italian mainland. That contract runs from June 1 to October 1. A third aircraft wet-leased from Air Mediterranean B737-400 SX-MAH (msn 24643) is based in Olbia.
22nd March 2017
Merdiana Airlines announces new route from Milan Malpensa to Moscow (return)! New route has already taken place.
Upcoming flights are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on a weekly basis from May 7th 2017. Flights will depart at 12:10pm and return from Milan Malpensa at 06:55, with a flight duration of 3 hours and 30 minutes. The route will be operated by a boeing 727-800 with a dual configuration of 168 seats in econoy and 14 in Electa (Merdiana's Business Class). Milan has become the 11th Italian destination in the route network of Domodedovo Moscow Airport.
2nd March 2017
Merdiana Airlines in Summer 2017 seasons and Jet Airways,
Merdiana Airlines in Summer 2017 seasons and Jet Airways, India’s international airlines, have entered a codeshare partnership in order to help significantly enhance connectivity between India and the Asia-Pacific region. It will also enhance connectivity for Jet Airways passengers from Mumbai and Delhi via Hong Kong to multiple destination in the Asia pacific region including to first time codeshare destinations, such as. Okinawa in Japan.
1st December 2016
Hong Kong airlines plans to expand its network into Northern America
Hong Kong airlines plans to expand its network into Northern America with the launch of non-stop flights between Hong Kong and Vancouver from June 2017. The service will commence from 30th June 2017, using a 283-seat Airbus A330-200 but likely to be switched to the A350-900 once the first of its aircraft are delivered towards the end of next year
Starting in December 2, 2016, Meridiana will begin a direct service from Milan to Miami on a twice a week frequency. The decision was made after analysing the huge potential that Miami International Airport has. Yearly, Miami International serves 275,000 flights to and from Italy, including a direct service to Milan operated by American Airlines and to Rome operated by Alitalia. Meridiana expects to help fill the demand of direct flights between Miami and Italy. The flight will be operated in a Boeing 767 aircraft, which seats up to 316 passengers. The demand of flights to Miami is not isolated to Italy, all across Europe carriers are starting to add new direct flights to Miami International from various cities like Cologne, Copenhagen, Oslo and Amsterdam.
The entire Meridiana Fleet is now run by Boeing, after retiring the last of the Airbus aircrafts in late 2014. At the moment the carrier has multiple agreements with airlines around the world, the codeshare agreements that are currently active are with Air Berlin, Air Malta, Air Moldova, Blue Air, Blue Panorama, Iberia, S7 Airlines, and Qatar Airways. More agreements are expected especially with carriers from the East as in 2016 Qatar Airways bought 49% of the outstanding shares of Meridiana and intends to make the italian carrier a key asset for their operations in Europe.
The fleet as of 2016 consists of the following aircrafts: Boeings 737-300, 737-700, 737-800, 767-200, 767-300 and McDonnell Douglas MD - 82 and 83. There are seven MD - 82 and 5 737-800s, making them the most used aircrafts of the organisation. In March 2017, Meridiana announced its new international connection between the airport Milano Malpensa and to Domodoedovo, which will be inaugurated Wednesday 22nd March. The new flight from the airport operated by Sea , will be available every Monday , Wednesday and Friday , while from May 7 will also add an operating frequency the Sunday , for a total of four weekly flights. The aircraft in service on this line is a Boeing 737-800 with 168 seats in economy and 14 in Electa Club, the business class of Meridiana. Taking off from Malpensa is scheduled at 6:55, while in Moscow it starts at 12:10, the flight lasted about three hours and thirty. In February 2017, Meridiana Fly announced it is set to begin, Lagos, Accra routes. Meridiana Fly, Italy’s fastest growing airline has concluded plans to begin air services into the Nigerian and aviation market. The carrier has also reaffirmed its commitment to the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets by confirming both routes in their summer schedule for 2017. Supported by Ghana’s first affiliated global aviation advisory firm -Dre Aviation and Dana Air, Meridiana Fly entered into the West African market with an iconic Boeing 767-300 series aircraft, and a on-time performance rate of 99.5 percent.
In March 2017, it was announced that the European Commission had given the proposed tie-up between Qatar Airways and Meridiana fly the go-ahead. Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar Airways will control 49% of a newly formed holding company in which Alisarda, Meridiana's parent firm, will have a 51% stake. It will contribute the entire outstanding share capital of Meridiana fly S.p.A. which owns Air Italy Holding S.r.l. and Air Italy, Wokita s.r.l., and Meridiana Maintenance S.p.A. It is recalled that Alisarda is itself owned by the Aga Khan Foundation.
In April 2017, Meridiana Fly announced it was planning to operate up to 25 new aircraft by 2021 through Project Sun. Project Sun comes on the back of the European Commission's decision last month to greenlight the proposed tie-up between Qatar Airways and Meridiana fly. Under the partnership, Qatar Airways will control 49% of a newly formed holding company with the Aga Khan Foundation-owned Alisarda, controlling the remaining 51%. The report states the Aga Khan Foundation has already contributed EUR40.75 million euro of the NewCo's share capital with Qatar Airways having until June 30 to contribute its share. In terms of operations, Project Sun outlines the carrier's strategy for the years 2018 through to 2020. In terms of fleet, Meridiana will replace its remaining three MD-82s and one MD-83 with more B737-800s. As it stands, the McDonnell Douglas jets are scheduled to be retired in October of this year. In total, by 2021, Meridiana will operate eighteen B737-800s and seven B767-300. A total of around EUR3 billion will be spent in the fleet renewal and expansion exercise.
In April 2017, Meridiana announced it plans to operate limited-time service to Cartagena in Colombia, on board Air Italy Boeing 767 aircraft. On 30APR17, the flight will operate as Milan Malpensa – Cartagena – La Romana – Milan Malpensa, while service on 06MAY17 operates in opposite direction. In April 2017, Meridiana announced it was close to signing a deal being signed with Qatar Airways. The Italian airline is headquartered in Olbia and has bases across Milan, Naples, Rome and Verona.