Air Italy has suspended operations effective immediately.
Air Italy’s shareholders have opted to place the airline in liquidation after an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
Italy’s second largest carrier had suffered two years of heavy losses – the airline reportedly lost €164 million in 2018 and €200 million in 2019.
Hoping to replace Italy’s bankrupt flag carrier Alitalia, Air Italy went through rapid expansion, doubling its fleet and operating long-haul destinations including New York, Miami, Delhi and Los Angeles.
The Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Paola De Micheli, was less than impressed with the decision, saying: “Deciding to liquidate a company of this size is unacceptable without first informing the government and without seriously considering possible alternatives.”
The news comes two and a half years after Qatar Airways took a minority 49% shareholding in the airline.
“Even with the changing competitive environment and the increasingly difficult market conditions severely impacting the air transport industry, Qatar Airways has continually reaffirmed its commitment, as a minority shareholder, to continue investing in the company,” Qatar Airways said in a statement.
“Qatar Airways was ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline, but this would only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders.”
In positive news, all Air Italy flights between 11-25 February will be operated by other carriers without any changes to the schedule.
Passengers with bookings further ahead will reportedly receive full refunds.
Here is Air Italy’s statement in full:
Following the shareholders’ meeting of Air Italy (Alisarda and Qatar Airways through AQA Holding spa) which decided the “liquidazione in bonis” of the company, and with the aim of minimizing the inconvenience for passengers holding Air Italy tickets, we inform all passengers that:
From 11 to 25 February2020 inclusive, all Air Italy flights will be operated by other carriers at the times and on the days previously scheduled; all passengers who booked flights (outward or return) after 25 February 2020 will be re-protected or fully refunded.
All scheduled flights (outward or return) up to and including 25 February 2020 (including the first departures on the morning of 26 February 2020 of domestic flights to Malpensa and from Male and Dakar airports) will be regularly operated, without any changes to the original scheduled dates and times and on the same flight conditions. Passengers will be able to fly using their ticket. Alternatively, passengers can always opt for a full ticket refund by emailing the following address [email protected] (or contacting their travel agency) prior to their flight’s departure time.
For all tickets scheduled to depart by 25 February 2020 and to return after 25 February 2020:
– the outward journey will be regularly operated, without any changes to the original scheduled dates and times and the same flight conditions; with regards to the return flight, passengers will be offered a travel option on the first available flight of another carrier, the details of which will be provided from 18 February 2020 by calling the following number from Italy: 892928, from abroad: +39078952682, from Usa: +1 866 3876359, from Canada: +1 800 7461888, or by contacting the travel agency in the case of purchase through this channel.
– Alternatively, passengers can opt to claim their refund for unused flight segments, by emailing the following address [email protected] (or by contacting the travel agency if the ticket was purchased through it) prior to the flight’s departure time.
Tickets for return flights after 25 February 2020:
– If purchased directly via the web (Air Italy portal) or Air Italy contact center, they will be fully refunded in a manner that will be provided via email, or requesting it at the address [email protected]
– If purchased through the Air Italy ticket office, they will be fully refunded by going to any Air Italy ticket office
– If purchased through a travel agency it will be necessary to request a refund or a change of travel by contacting the agency
All bookings for which the travel document has not been completed through the purchase of the ticket will automatically lapse. For more information, the toll-free number from Italy: 892928; from abroad: +39078952682 from Usa: +1 866 3876359 from Canada: +1 800 7461888