This morning there were rumors about Air Italy possibly liquidating and suspending operations.
Well, here we are just a few hours later and Air Italy has just announced that they’ll be liquidating and suspending operations effective immediately.
Per Air Italy’s announcement, from today (Feb. 11) through 25 Feb 2020, all Air Italy flights will be operated by other carriers on the days and times that were previously scheduled. <–I would take that with a grain of salt.
If you have an upcoming flight on Air Italy (or are genuinely interested), you may want to read THE FULL ANNOUCEMENT. (It’s in Italian at the top and English near the bottom).
QATAR AIRWAYS’ INVESTMENT IN AIR ITALY
In 2015, Qatar Airways announced they had bought a 10% stake in IAG (the parent of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus) and later increased that stake to 20% in 2016.
In the summer of 2016, Qatar Airways announcement they had purchased a 10% stake in LATAM (the largest airline in South America). We’ve discussed this in previous post because Delta recently purchased a 20% stake in LATAM.
A week later, Qatar continued their trend of purchasing stakes in foreign airlines and announced they had purchased a 49% stake in a failing Italian airline called Meridiana.
The intent was for them to completely transform the airline as Meridiana had an outdated product and flew 767’s on longhaul routes. Yuck!
Well, it’s apparent that transformation project has not worked out so well.
I feel bad for Air Italy as Qatar Airways has bought them new planes and given them a great product and there are jobs at stake.
Qatar Airways has had a strategy of trying to invest in global carriers, I assume to build a global network. However, the majority of the investments have always been in failing airlines and I’ve been skeptical of this approach from the beginning.
The collapse of Air Italy represents yet another failed investment by a Middle Eastern airline in a failing European airline.
It! Doesn’t! Work! Ask Etihad about their $255 million investment in Air Berlin with another $255 million on Air Berlin’s loyalty program. Despite the $510 million lifeline, Air Berlin permanently ceased operations in 2017.
Regardless, it’ll be worth watching this closely to see what the investing groups decide to do. Historically, the Italian government has a track record for keeping airlines on life support indefinitely.
What do you make of this development?