Air Italy Shutting Down, Expects Other Airlines To Operate Their Schedule For Two Weeks

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.

In details:

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 refunds@airitaly.com (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 refunds@airitaly.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 refunds@airitaly.com

– 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. …And a big blow to Malpensa who lost Alitalia as a hub and was betting on Air Italy. Remember Meridiana also had a big hub at Milan before becoming Air Italy.

    This should be a big wakeup call for the Italian government in the face of a failing Alitalia – Italy just can’t get it right and should bow to not having a national airline. Anyone remember Lufthansa Italia?

    If I’m reading this correctly, it appears Qatar was willing to buy a bigger stake but Italian laws forbid it.

  2. It has nothing to do with nationalism. Libs can never just argue the issue, you always have to attack the opponent and their motive, don’t you?

    The point is that open skies treaties are unfair to the US when the country you are negotiating with is using it almost exclusively for transiting passengers. If instead it was a 1:1 treaty with UAE, and if the EU did the same, then Emirates would not exist. Emirates is a product of these treaties, and the airlines harmed by them, namely US airlines, are fighting for their own best interests, as they should.

    Now can you leave out the politicizing and smearing? No, we all know you can’t help yourself.

  3. When one side is fundamentally corrupt (as the Republicans truly have become), the motive is always questioned.

    Why did real estate developers get such a sweet tax break in the latest Trump tax cuts? Hmmm….

    And with the topic at hand, clearly the US carriers are getting absolutely decimated by the Gulf Carriers. Oh wait, they have consolidated share and are enjoying record revenues and profits? Whoops…

  4. “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.”

    Oh, c’mon. That’s a ridiculous statement. Just because a foreign-owned, heavily-subsidized airline MAY fail is not a good reason for a competitor to ignore the problem. The US airlines just wanted to avoid the further spreading of the mega-subsidized Middle East airlines. The Air Italy ownership structure was nonsense: it was essentially a Qatari subsidiary. The situation with the ME3 is absurd; having this disease spread to Europe would have been worse.

    The “good news” for the US airlines is that every bad business idea eventually goes broke. Even wealthy governments eventually run out of money to prop up failing businesses. We will undoubtedly see more pullback from the ME3, as the loses mount. Next stop: the subsidized Chinese airlines.

  5. Are people here seriously arguing in favor of policies that arbitrarily restrict competition and line the wallets of airline shareholders and execs while raising prices for the travelling public???

  6. @ John — “Are people here seriously arguing in favor of policies that arbitrarily restrict competition and line the wallets of airline shareholders and execs while raising prices for the travelling public???”

    Well, yes. But it’s not arbitrary. It’s an argument against a totalitarian government using its oil resources to distort free market competition. If you owned a donut shop but Qatar decided it was in its national interest to open up a competing heavily-subsidized donut shop across the street from you (free glass of champagne with every donut purchase) would you object? Should your employees — who would likely lose their jobs — also not object?

  7. I thought this would be a post on the demise of Air Italy and not a political hit piece. Air Italy failing has nothing to do with government policies and everything to do with the flawed concept and execution. The high speed train network in Italy means travel between Venice and Rome for instance takes 3:45. Italy does not have the business travelers like german and France to warrant a hub model like Air Italy wanted. It is unfortunate we are losing the international routes to New York. The business class was a decent open product and will be missed as a cheaper option. Alitalia is a disaster and thankfully there are other options to Italy.

    The arguments made by U.S. airlines about unfair competition and unfair subsidies by foreign government are valid. The U.S. airlines exaggerate a bit as those few routes don’t really make a difference to the operation of the big carriers and it maybe lowers ticket prices for consumers a bit. The issue is better seen with the subsidies airbus receives from European governments which puts Boeing at a big disadvantage. Maybe if Boeing wasn’t hampered by the airbus subsidies it would have designed a new plane instead of extending the 737 because of unfair subsidized competition from the A321

  8. @Gary: “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.”

    Exactly.

  9. @Ric: ” but Italian laws forbid it.”

    EU laws forbid it.

    This is the kind of undemocratic, super-national interference that led to the UK leaving the EU. Italy has threatened to do so but it remains to be seen if it happens.

  10. @chopsticks: “The US airlines just wanted to avoid the further spreading of the mega-subsidized Middle East airlines”

    They have never received a single penny in subsidies. You are confusing them with the Chapter 11 Three (AA, Delta, United).

  11. @John Hampton: The A321 was never subsidized. That was just a cover Boeing invented in order to keep its subsidies coming.

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