This morning I wrote that Air Italy faced an uncertain future – and possible liquidation – after losing 200 million euros in 2019, up from 164 million the year before. The carrier needed more cash, and Qatar Airways which owns 49% of the airline was blocked from taking an additional stsake in the airline by foreign ownership restrictions.
And in fact a decision has been made today to shut down the airline.
- Ticketed passengers are being offered refunds
- Flights will continue through the first a.m. domestic flights to Milan Malpensa and departures from Male and Dakar on February 26.
Here’s the announcement, via Google Translate. They suggest that ‘other carriers’ will operate Air Italy’s schedule for the next two weeks, although I’d expect to see some disruption at a minimum
Following the Shareholders’ Meeting of Air Italy (Alisarda and Qatar Airways through AQA Holding SpA) which resolved the company’s liquidation to perform, and with the aim of minimizing the inconvenience for passengers holding Air Italy tickets, yes Passengers are informed that:
From 11 to 25 February 2020 including all Air Italy flights will be operated by other carriers at the times and on the days already scheduled; all passengers who have booked flights departing or arriving after February 25 will be re-protected or fully refunded.
All scheduled flights (outward or return) up to and including 25 February 2020 (including the first departures in the morning of 26 February 2020 for domestic flights to Malpensa and from Male and Dakar airports) will be regularly operated, without any modification with respect to the scheduled dates and times and the same flight conditions. Passengers will be able to fly using their ticket. Alternatively, passengers can always opt for a full ticket refund by writing to the email firstname.lastname@example.org (or by contacting their travel agency) within the flight departure time.
For tickets that go by February 25, 2020 and return after February 25, 2020:
– the outward journey will be regularly operated, without any modification with respect to the initially scheduled dates and times and the same flight conditions; for 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 starting from 18 February 2020 by calling the number from Italy: 892928, from abroad: +39078952682, from Use: +1 866 3876359, from Canada +1 800 7461888, or contacting the travel agency in case of purchase through this channel.
– Alternatively, passengers can opt for the waiver of unused routes and the consequent reimbursement, by writing to the email address email@example.com (or by contacting the travel agency in the case of purchase through this channel) within the departure time of the flight.
For tickets for return flights after February 25, 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 by email or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
– If purchased through 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 for a refund or for alternative travel solutions, contact the agency itself.
All bookings for which the travel ticket has not been completed through the purchase of the ticket will automatically lapse. For more information, the toll-free number is available from Italy: 892928, from abroad: +39078952682, from the USA: +1 866 3876359, from Canada +1 800 7461888.
This is sad for Italy, which had hopes for a high quality airline that could overtake perennial basket case Alitalia. It is sad for Air Italy’s employees. But it also proves that protectionism was unnecessary, that there was no need to light lobbying resources on fire at Delta, American and United to get the U.S. government to put Air Italy out of business.
I’m personally a bit disappointed that Bastian, Parker, and Munoz get their way after appealing to nationalists in the Trump administration, seeking to have the federal government redistribute income from U.S. consumers to shareholders.