Air Italy marked a first today in Italian aviation with the touchdown of its Boeing B737 Max in new livery at Milan-Malpensa Airport.
Air Italy and Qatar Airways VIP dignitaries received the aircraft at the Boeing Everett Delivery Centre in Seattle before flying it back to Italy and upon arriving in Milan, were greeted by a celebratory water cannon salute. VIPs on board the flight included Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker; Chairman of Alisarda and AQA Holding, Mr. Marco Rigotti; Director of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and AQA Holding Board Member, Mr. Sultan Allana; and Chairman of Air Italy, Mr. Francesco Violante.
They were received by the Qatari Ambassador to Italy, His Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz bin Ahmed Al Malki Al Jehni; the Italian Ambassador to the State of Qatar, His Excellency Mr. Pasquale Salzano; U.S. Consul General to Italy, Mrs. Elisabeth Martinez; Chairman of Milan-Malpensa Airport, Mr. Pietro Modiano; and Chairman of Boeing Italia, Mr. Antonio de Palmas.
During a press conference at Milan-Malpensa Airport, the VIP dignitaries discussed the importance of this historical moment, which will set a new era in Italian aviation for the people of Italy and for passengers worldwide. Guests and media were also treated to an exciting reveal of the new stylish Air Italy cabin crew uniform.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “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 B737 Max in new livery at Milan marks the beginning of a new travel experience for the people of Italy. 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.”
The new Boeing 737 Max aircraft feature modern and spacious cabins, superior operating economics and a greater fuel efficiency. The aircraft type will feature Business Class seating and will replace Air Italy’s existing Boeing 737NGs.
The inaugural aircraft is the first of nearly 50 new aircraft that will be added to the Air Italy fleet by 2022. This is the first of 20 brand new Boeing B737 Max aircraft that will join the airline over the next three years.
Air Italy will also lease five Airbus A330-200 aircraft this year from Qatar Airways’ fleet, prior to these being further replaced by Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. Qatar Airways previously strengthened its commitment to Italy in 2017 with the acquisition of 49 per cent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Air Italy, while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda kept 51 per cent.
Network destinations will also enjoy continued expansion, with new long-range routes from Milan to New York, Miami, Bangkok and Mumbai already announced. Air Italy this month also inaugurated short-haul routes connecting Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo and Olbia. Additional routes from Milan to the Sicilian east coastal city of Catania and Lamezia Terme in Calabria will commence on 1 July and 1 September respectively.
Further plans also include strengthening the short-range network to improve connectivity and launching the first long-range destination from Rome Fiumicino in 2019. Air Italy aims to fly more than 50 year-round routes by 2022