In an unexpected move, Air Italy decided to cut its loses and shut down…effective immediately. This is a very sad day for a very special carrier.
Investors accelerated an emergency meeting, originally scheduled for February 18th, to today. There, the decision was made to suspend further service.
I’ve included the full press release below, but note these key details:
- Flights scheduled from today through February 25th will operate as scheduled…by other carriers
- If your original departure is before February 25th with a return after February 25th, you may be re-accomodated on another airline
- Itineraries which begin on or after February 26th will be refunded
- You can apply for a full refund for upcoming travel via firstname.lastname@example.org, even if you are traveling before February 26th
Here’s the full release:
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@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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@example.com
- – 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
I flew Air Italy last summer from Milan to San Francisco…heck, I built a whole trip around it. And although the business class seat wasn’t the most spacious nor food the most tasty, I had a wonderful flight. The attention to detail was magnificent and the service onboard was truly outstanding.
> Read More: Air Italy A330 Business Class Review
My review may no longer be relevant in terms of what you can expect, but serves as a historical marker of an airline that could have (and should have) become Italy’s flag carrier. But the with the Italian government unwilling to let Alitalia fail, poor Air Italy had no chance.
Tomorrow I’ll discuss why Delta shouldn’t be so fast to gloat over this news…
Arrivederci Air Italy. You will be missed.
I wonder what His Excellency, Akbar al-Baker, will have to say about his 49% investment.
His phrase, “rub salt into the wounds”, comes to mind.
The man is an an arrogant, pompous ass as far as I’m concerned.
Air Italy, great product but I guess it just didn’t cut muster.
It’s a sad day..
Riposa in pace Air Italy
It was never going to be profitable even if Alitalia failed — having to fly to Italy several times a year, I could never get its schedules to work for me, and it was just propped up and kept alive by the financing of Qatar. It would never have become the first choice for any business traveler from the US, or Germany, or the UK, or Asia.
Actually, Meridiana (as Air Italy was previously called) would probably be doing just fine as the regional carrier for southern Italy, the niche it had filled successfully for years, had Qatar not done the expansion strategy.
A company was destroyed not by the government’s help in supporting Alitalia, but by a foolish investment from Qatar that hinged on another airline going bankrupt.
As for the bailout of Alitalia, the company is the Italian flag carrier and serves an important function of the Italian economy. US airlines got bailouts too in the past, and you bet that any other flag carrier (Air France, Lufthansa, BA) would get bailouts as well. JAL went through trouble some time ago and was saved by the Japanese government. It is not a bad thing if the company emerges more successful after the bailout and restructuring, and a good investment by the government if it results in economic benefits for its citizens (in the case of Japan, having two major airlines in the country and thus lower ticket prices).
It remains to be seen how the Alitalia story works out…
Gus, one correction. Meridiana was also losing a lot of money. I’m not sure it could have survived either had Qatar not interjected capital and rebranded it.
In my opinion the problem with airlines based in Italy is geography. Italy being in southern Europe, central and northern Europe customers would not fly southwards to connect for a transcontinental flight to North America or Asia. And no feed market exists south of Italy. No feed, no business.
No way for Air Italy or Alitalia, regardless of service.
Back in 1992 a friend and I flew on a Meridiana MD-80 from Naples to Milan. We were almost the only passengers. I know because I took a photo on board and it looked like the two of us were on an empty plane.
One of the airlines I flew for in the 80’s went belly-up and I remember the shock and the worry that I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent and bills. Plus, an airline is like a family. When the airline fails the family splits-up and there are people you care about that you never see again. So I feel very badly for the Air Italy employees.
“Beloved” is a rather strong word to use for an airline that you flew once, and complained about the seat.
Will this occurrence increase or decrease LH interest in Alitalia?
i was booked on a flight in May 2020. of course my concern is the refund. how likely is it that air italy will in fact refund my purchase? clicking on the link provided in their announcement to no avail rises my concern.
Did you send an email to them as the press release prescribed?
I was booked SFO-MXP r/t in April and am similarly concerned about the likelihood, or at least the timeliness of a refund. I’ve emailed with a refund request as directed but not surprisingly there has been no response. The good news is I booked travel insurance (a rare move for me, but I was aware of the situation) for the trip and you can bet I was on the phone with my insurers right away. They seemed to think filling a claim for the refund would be no problem, but we decided it best to wait a bit and see if anything comes from Air Italy themselves and we can avoid the paperwork. The question is – how long? Right now I’ve gotten zero communication from them, including just now being disconnected from their customer service line after waiting for quite a while. Not the best sign.
Time to play the waiting game…
Interesting dilemma for you. Will your insurance book you on another airline in business class on their dime?
I have two booking with Air Italy in July of this year. I called and they said they would process the refund, I also sent emails. It has been about a week. I have not gotten a refund confirmation email (as they said I would) and no credit on my card yet. I am just curious, does anyone know if anyone has received any refund yet?
I’m in the same situation. I got an email stating my refund would be processed as soon as possible. It is almost a week.
I booked through Hopper and received the cancellation email and a few “sorry for the wait” emails, but nothing else. The article said I must correspond through the third party. Still waiting.
I can’t reach them on the phone but sent an email for a complete refund on Feb. 13th. I got an email saying they received my email but nothing since. I did receive an email about my upcoming flight. I forwarded it to the refunds email address too. I am like the others wondering when we will get our refunds
Any updates on this? Has anyone received their refund yet? I emailed and got a similar response as people above but nothing official. I was able to get a hold of someone on the phone earlier this week and she mentioned the refund was “processing” but couldn’t get me an estimate on when it might actually go through.
I have heard nothing from Air Italy.
Sane situation. It has been almost 7 weeks since I asked for refund. The same replay “will be processed as soon as possible” . Nothing received. I am beginning to have doubts that this will ever be refunded.