THIS IS AN UPDATING STORY…..
Air Italy, 49% owned by Qatar Airways has ceased operations with immediate effect and all of its flights will be operated by other airlines until February 25th.
Passengers flying after that date can obtain a refund from the airline.
The airline is said to have losses of $US 200m and shareholders seem to have voted to wind it up leaving 1200 people jobless.
The airline has been loathed in the US aviation industry being chastised for its association with Qatar and alleged unfair competition.
The airline operated 4 A332’s, 1 737-700, 4 737-800 and had 3 grounded MAX 8’s.
Qatar Airways said:
Despite our minority shareholder’s role, Qatar Airways has continuously provided all possible support to Air Italy right from the beginning, from releasing aircraft from our fleet and ordering new aircraft for Air Italy, to backing management choices and injecting capital and investment as required and permitted.
One of the biggest problems seems to have been the huge costs of leased in aircraft to balance out the MAX groundings. This is probably the first time that lease costs on replacements have actively contributed to an airlines demise.
With the demise of Air Italy, that’s the second Italian airline to go under – Ernest Air ceased operations in January.
AlItalia is still in a mess and looks ever less likely to find a buyer – the Italian Government has said no more bailouts or loans, so its days are numbered, and with it domestic Italian aviation. Now only the RyanAirs, Vuelings and easyJet’s seem able to support Italian aviation aspirations.