Air Italy took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX from the aircraft manufacturer’s delivery centre in Seattle this week, ahead of its transfer flight to Milan-Malpensa Airport.
The Italian airline was until recently known as Meridiana but has been bankrolled by Qatar Airways, which has a 49% stake in the carrier’s parent company, AQA Holding.
Upon arrival at Milan, Air Italy and Qatar Airways VIPs were greeted by a celebratory water cannon salute to mark the occasion.
Aboard the flight was Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, Chairman of Alisarda and AQA Holding, Marco Rigotti, Director of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and AQA Holding Board Member, Sultan Allana and Chairman of Air Italy, Francesco Violante.
“It is truly a remarkable moment to be witnessing the launch of a new era in Italian aviation. The touchdown of Air Italy’s first Boeing 737 MAX in new livery of Milan marks the beginning of a new travel experience of the people of Italy,” Al Baker commented.
“Not only are we pleased to be part of this memorable moment, but we are delighted to be supporting it by leasing Air Italy with five Airbus A330-200 aircraft this year from the Qatar Airways fleet,” he added.
The 737 MAX will replace Air Italy’s existing Boeing 737NGs. Nearly 50 new aircraft are being added to Air Italy’s fleet by 2022, including 20 of this variation over the next three years.
Network destinations will also benefit from Air Italy’s continued expansion, with new long-range routes from Milan to New York, Miami, Bangkok and Mumbai already confirmed. Air Italy this month also inaugurated short-haul routes connecting Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo and Olbia. Other routes from Milan to the Sicilian east coast of Catania and Lamezia Terme in Calabria will commence on 1 July and 1 September respectively.