Air Italy, previously known as Meridiana, Italy's second biggest airline after flag carrier Alitalia, goes into liquidation.
The decision to wind up the company was made at a meeting of its shareholders. Alisarda, founded by the Aga Khan, controlled 51% of Air Italy, while Qatar Airways had a 49% stake in the company. As consequence of this decision, Air Italy has suspended operations. The company announced that flights from Tuesday through February 25 would be operated by other carriers. Flights booked after that point will be refunded. The airline used Milan Malpensa airport as its hub, differing from Rome-based Alitalia, the Italian flag carrier.The company operated flight in Italy and long-haul destinations including New York, Miami and Los Angeles or Cairo and Lagos.
The grounding of Boeing's 737 Max plane has added to pressure on the industry. Air Italy had three Boeing 737 Max jets in its fleet. Air Italy reportedly lost 164 million euros in 2018 and 200 million euros in 2019, or $179 million and $218 million, respectively, at current exchange rates. Qatar could not increase its investment or inject cash into the airline as it struggled due to European Union laws, which limit foreign ownership of companies to a minority stake. Air Italy is the latest airline to collapse, following 2019's bankruptcies of Iceland-based Wow Air, British travel company Thomas Cook, Indian airline Jet Airways and French budget carrier XL Airways.