Qatar Airways wants to expand Italy's MeridianaBack to Forum
Qatar Airways recently acquired a 49 per cent stake in Italy’s Meridiana.
Meridiana is a short-haul airline and number two to Italy. I would have expected Qatar Airways to use it to feed its long-haul services from the main Italian gateways.
But now Reuters reports that Qatar Airways has big expansion plans for Meridiana which will see it acquire a number of modern wide-body aircraft.
These are said to include B787s/A330s and B737 Max aircraft.
With Alitalia’s future still in doubt (after Etihad, a major shareholder, withdrew financial support) there are interesting times ahead.30 Sep 2017
This was, published by CAPA yesterday (20-11-17)
“Meridiana to pursue growth, rebrand as Air Italy; Meridiana has previously been shrinking”.
The point to note is that the Merediana name will disappear to be replaced by its subsidiary´s name, Air Italy.
This is obviously a play to become the national airline of Italy after Alitalia´s (impending?) collapse. Whether Qatar can do a better job than Etihad in Alitalia is a moot point. We shall see.21 Nov 2017
I think Qatar should have a little more luck with Meridiana than EY did with Alitalia.
Alitalia was almost just an extension of the government and unions. It’s had more lives than a cat and I don’t think either the employees or the unions realistically feel threatened by going out of business as there always seems to be some emergency loan or silly airline willing to plough in millions.
I feel sorry for the newer employees at Alitalia whom really do work hard and pretty much at market rate. I was pretty shocked to speak to one at the AZ crew hotel in Buenos Aires and hear that they stay only one night there (versus two for the AF/BA/IB crew whom all stay at the same hotel. The inefficiencies seem to be at a higher level – centring everything on Rome and leaving Malpensa which was designed to be their new hub (at the time) underutilised.
And then there is the obvious that there are just too many airlines chasing too few passengers in Europe. Etihad, Emirates and Qatar fly direct from their hubs from Italian cities like Pisa and Venice.
I think the case with Meridiana will be quite different. It is free of government interference. It will obviously relish the opportunity to grow. And on the limited longhaul front whilst it seems to have a terribly outdated hard product it has dedicated staff (some TR’s pasted – the amusing bit for me was the J class passenger that asks whether there is a row of three seats in economy to sleep in between the meal services). And Qatar can definitely help out on the hard product front!
It will be interesting to see which strategy Qatar will shape with Meridiana – whether they will try to compete head to head with AZ on the busy longhaul routes from Rome and Milan or whether they will focus their longhaul network on launching flights to large cities westwards and Doha obviously eastwards from secondary cities.21 Nov 2017