On 2 September, in the midst of negotiations between Italia Trasporti Aereo and Alitalia, Air Italy returned the last aircraft in its fleet, a 186-seat Boeing 737 Max 8 sub-leased. The former Meridiana that in 2018 a Sardinian-Qatari consortium tried to relaunch – only to stop operations in February 2020, before Covid – net of the brand (with a low value) now he no longer owns an asset. what the Corriere della Sera from sources following the dossier.
The company which ended up in liquidation delivered the aircraft with the registration number EI-GGK to Budapest – where it had been since 8 July last year – together with the certifications and documents attesting that the sublet controls have been carried out. It is not clear whether the delivery took place to Pembroke Aircraft Leasing Limited of Dublin – owner of the aircraft – or to Qatar Airways who had rented it: the carrier, in addition to being one of the shareholders of Air Italy (with 49%), had in turn shot to the company based in Olbia, Costa Smeralda, several aircraft. The Courier service tried to ask for official details from both Pembroke and Qatar Airways but did not get a response at the time the article was published.
The twin-engine jet is the third delivered by Air Italy among the Boeing 737 Max 8s. The first, as far as possible to reconstruct, was returned on 28 January 2021 (EI-GFY registration number, also the first to arrive in the fleet), while the second on 23 August last (EI-GGL). They too were first parked at the Budapest airport in Hungary. The last aircraft returned, the EI-GGK was brought to Italy on July 19, 2018 directly from Seattle, where the Boeing plants are located. From 12 March 2019 to 8 July – report the specialized sites – remained in the Milan Malpensa airport. On 8 July he was taken to Budapest.
The sale of assets
In recent months, several names have come forward in the press and with the liquidators of the company, Enrico Laghi and Franco Maurizio Lagro. But in addition to not convincing the relaunch plan of several of them, over the months Air Italy has gradually lost its assets. In fact – according to what the Courier service – there is nothing left in the hangars, there is no material left (which has been sold) starting from the engine parts, while other goods – such as those on board the aircraft – have been auctioned in lots. It would remain the Air Italy brand but experts believe that its value is low because there is also very little time on the market.
On 28 September 2017, the Qatar Airways group purchased 49% – the maximum allowed by EU rules for a carrier to remain EU – of AQA Holding (the other 51% was Aga Khan), the company created to manage and relaunch the ‘former Sundial. In February 2018 at the official presentation in Milan, Akbar Al Baker, head of Qatar Airways, announced that Air Italy would have 50 planes in a few years and would carry 10 million passengers by 2022, five times those of the last few years.
In 2018 Air Italy – officially launched on March 1 of that year – closed with a red of 164.2 million euros. The investments necessary for the relaunch, the stop of the Boeing 737 Max (forcing the carrier to resort to hired aircraft) and some not-so-good decisions such as the start of some long-haul routes – India and Thailand – which were then canceled. In May 2018, on the occasion of the delivery of the first 737 Max, Al Baker had explained to the Courier service that Air Italy would hire ten thousand people and announce a major expansion plan.
A year and a month later the then head of operations of the former Meridiana, Rossen Dimitrov, had also promised greater stability in operations, the arrival of more aircraft, the opening of new routes and the appointment of its first and true administrator. delegate. All things that never happened. At 2.30 pm on 11 February 2020, Air Italy was put into liquidation in bonis because the two shareholders – Qatar Airways and the Aga Khan – were unable to find an agreement and, indeed, ended up at loggerheads.
On 25 August 2020, the National Civil Aviation Authority suspended the air transport license. Meanwhile, Air Italy must reimburse over 40 million euros to passengers who had purchased a ticket with the carrier. At the same time, difficult negotiations began for about 1,400 employees – between Olbia and Malpensa – who were left without a job. The redundancy fund expires in December: several of them have sent an application to work with Italia Trasporti Aereo, the company that will take the place of Alitalia on 15 October. But there is no lack of incentives to relaunch a company that, to date, has nothing left.