Despite support from Qatar Airways the Italian airline has to halt operations. Air Italy will be liquidated, its aircraft are already grounded.
Alitalia is not saved yet. While the special administrators and the government in Rome are still looking for a solution with potential investors, the fate of the second largest Italian airline is sealed. The supervisory board of Air Italy decided on Tuesday (February 11) to voluntarily liquidate the company.
Over the next two weeks there will still be flights using the Iata code IG. But they will be operated by other airlines. Air Italy’s own aircraft will remain on the ground with immediate effect. The final flight operated on behalf of the airline will take off in the early morning of 26 February.
Qatar Airways continues to see «great potential»
The end of the Italian airline is a defeat for Qatar Airways. The gulf carrier became a minority shareholder in November 2017 and at the moment owns 49 percent of the shares. The majority of shares remained with the Italian group Alisarda, owned by Karim Aga Khan IV, the multi-billionaire who is also the religious leader of 20 million Ismailite Nizarites.
Qatar Airways states that it always believed in the potential of Air Italy. The airline had also been prepared to support it for longer. But this would have required the commitment of all shareholders, the carrier said in its statement. Obviously Alisarda did not want to invest more money.
A history of 57 years
Air Italy was born out of Meridiana, which was founded in 1963 and renamed after Qatar Airways joined in. The fleet consists of twelve aircraft – four Airbus A330s and eight Boeing 737s. The airline’s plan had been to use the new shareholders’ money to expand the fleet to 20 Boeing 737 Max 8s for short- and medium-haul flights and 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for intercontinental flights.