Air Italy Backtracks On 787 Plans

Air Italy is the controversial Italian airline that Qatar Airways has a 49% stake in. The airline was known as Meridiana, however with funding from Qatar Airways the airline has launched new routes and updated their onboard product.

The airline has expanded significantly, although has additionally cut several routes inside weeks of launching.

Air Italy A330

Because the airline is backed by Qatar Airways, their plan has lengthy been to primarily lease planes from Qatar Airways. That’s a win-win since Qatar Airways has extra capability because of the Gulf blockade (they’re even leasing planes to Air Canada this summer), and that’s cheaper than Air Italy buying planes in any other case.

When Air Italy began they’d 5 Airbus A330s from Qatar Airways, however they’ve lengthy mentioned that their plan is to finally function a fleet of 30 Boeing 787s, which simply provides you a way of how a lot they had been hoping to develop.

I’ve been skeptical about whether or not or not they’d really ever get 787s, particularly because the preliminary plans referred to as for the airline to have their first 787s by Might 2019 (this month). Effectively, now we all know the reply.

Aviation Analyst stories that Air Italy not plans so as to add any 787s to their fleet, however reasonably plans to keep up an all A330 fleet for his or her lengthy haul flights.

The reasoning offered is attention-grabbing. Based on Air Italy’s COO:

“Due to the delay in Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries, we’ve determined to develop the fleet with Airbus A330s as a substitute. We are going to add extra A330s this yr, and subsequent yr too.

We wish to lease the following A330 jets from Qatar as we want to preserve the consistency in our product. We don’t wish to create confusion in our product, and this plane is proving to be excellent for us. We’ll follow the identical cabins, and proceed to roll-out our service and cabin upgrades, and many others. We’re too small to have a blended (Airbus and Boeing) fleet, we realised it could be too pricey.”

The declare right here is that Qatar Airways has 30 Boeing 787-9s on order, and the supply of these is delayed. Whereas that’s true, it’s my understanding that Air Italy was largely going to take over Qatar Airways’ current 787-8s.

Studying between the traces, it positive appears apparent to me why Air Italy isn’t taking on any 787s from Qatar Airways — they’re pricey and the enterprise mannequin hasn’t fairly panned out the best way they hoped:

  • Air Italy pulled out of Bangkok, Delhi, and Mumbai inside weeks of launching flights
  • Air Italy canceled Chicago flights earlier than they even launched
  • Air Italy’s flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto, are all seasonal (the airline didn’t reveal this once they really introduced the flights, however solely previously few weeks)
  • The airline plans to function “counter-seasonal” flights, that means in winter they’ll function leisure lengthy haul flights heading east from Milan, which goes to be difficult to do with out a lot of a connecting community

Air Italy’s A330 enterprise class seats

Backside line

I want I had been stunned, however I’ve been assuming for fairly some time that Air Italy received’t really take over any Qatar Airways 787s. Personally I feel that’s a sensible transfer. An A330 looks like a way more affordable airplane with which to try to develop.

Whereas I query Air Italy’s enterprise mannequin, I proceed to level out that they’ve an exceptional onboard soft product in enterprise class, and extremely advocate flying them.

Are you stunned to see that Qatar Airways received’t get any 787s?

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