Another airline will serve Italy’s prime long-haul business route next year.

Meridiana (now 49 per cent owned by Qatar Airways) will launch flights between Milan Malpensa and New York JFK on June 1 with Miami services following on June 8.

It is true that Meridiana already operates a number of transatlantic routes but these are infrequent (sometimes once weekly or even once monthly) and intended for holidaymakers and VFR travellers.

Meridiana’s new routes in 2018 will be operated by A330-200s provided by Qatar Airways.

More details of the onboard accommodation will be announced in due course when Meridiana unveils its new business plan.

We understand that the A330s will be two-class: around 16 business and between 160 and 189 economy seats.

Advance schedules are:

  • Milan to New York. Single daily flight. IG901 departs Malpensa at 1310 to arrive into JFK at 1600. Return flight IG902 departs JFK at 2030 to reach Malpensa the following day at 1035.
  • Milan to Miami. Four flights a week (daily except Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). IG903 departs Malpensa at 1300 to arrive Miami at 1745. IG904 departs Miami at 1945 to reach Malpensa the next day at 1110.

It is intended to have domestic ‘feeders’ from five points: Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Lamezia Terme.

Reservations, at least for the transatlantic from Milan, are now available on the carrier’s website.

Besides being Milan’s main gateway, Malpensa is also the closest major airport to Swiss Ticino.

Meridiana will be competing against American Airlines on its Miami route. But when flying to New York it faces no fewer than five rivals: Alitalia, American Airlines, Delta, Emirates and United.

All operate into JFK with the exception of United which uses Newark.

Faced with such competition (and especially with Emirates’  A380) one would expect Meridiana to pull out all the stops.