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FORMED IN 1963 AND STARTED OPERATIONS IN 1964. FORMERLY NAMED ALISARDA, UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE AGA KHAN (THE LEADER OF THE WORLD'S 20 MILLION STRONG ISMAILI MOSLEM COMMUNITY. LATER, OPERATED AS MERIDIANA AND AFTER MERGING WITH EUROFLY (EUY) AND AIR ITALY (ITZ), BECAME THE PRESENT "MERIDIANA FLY." DOMESTIC, REGIONAL, AND INTERNATIONAL, SCHEDULED AND CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
AEROPORTO COSTA SMERALDA
I-07026 OLBIA, (SS), ITALY
ITALY (ITALIAN REPUBLIC) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1861, IT COVERS AN AREA OF 301,268 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 58 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS ROME, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS ITALIAN.
JULY 1996: THE AGA KHAN IS THE MAJORITY OWNER.
BASED IN OLBIA, SARDINIA.
TO AMSTERDAM, BARCELONA, BERGAMO, NICE, BOLOGNA, CALIARI, CATANIA, FLORENCE, FRANKFURT, GENEVA, PISA, GENOA, LONDON, MILAN, MUNICH, NAPLES, PALERMO, PARIS, ROME, TURIN, VENICE, VERONA, AND ZURICH.
1,175 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 405 FLIGHT CREW (FC) AND 110 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
CONSIDERING "NO FRILLS" SUBSIDIARY.
APRIL 1997: 1 MD-83 (JT8D-217C), EX-(TWA).
JUNE 1997: 1 MD-83 (49785), BABCOCK & BROWN (BBB) LEASED.
JULY 1997: CODE SHARE WITH ALITALIA (ALI).
PLANS TO DOUBLE ITS FLEET OF MD-80'S OVER NEXT 3 YEARS, & STUDYING PLAN TO SWITCH TO ALL-BOEING, OR ALL-AIRBUS.
CURRENTLY 6 DC-9-51'S, 125 - 135 PASSENGERS (PAX), 9 MD-80'S, 165 PAX, AND 4 B AE 146-200'S, 79 PAX.
SEPTEMBER 1997: PLANS TO ADD AT LEAST 9 MD-80'S, & 2 B AE 146'S,
JANUARY 1998: 1997 = 2.72 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).
MARCH 1998: 1 MD-83 (JT8D-219), (GEH) LEASED
APRIL 1998: 1,442 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 177 FLIGHT CREW (FC) & 215 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
ALBERTO NOCCHI, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR RESIGNS TO JOIN AIR ONE (ADH) AS TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.
TO BUY 2 MD-82'S FROM FAR EASTERN AIR TRANSPORT (FAT).
JUNE 1998: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1997 = +$8.5 MILLION (+$495,000) (NET PROFIT).
19TH MD-80 DELIVERY.
SEPTEMBER 1998: MD-83 (49808), EX-NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES (NNA), (ILF) LEASED.
OCTOBER 1998: NEW SERVICE, GENOA - CATANIA.
DECEMBER 1998: MD-83 (49854), EX-AERO LLOYD (ACH), CRANE AVIATION LEASED (ASL AIRCRAFT SERVICES LEMWERDER, GERMANY, DID "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK).
JANUARY 1999: 2 DC-9-51'S TO HAWAIIAN AIRLINES (HWI). MD-83 (49935, EI-CRH), EX-EDELWEISS AIR (EDE), (GEF) LEASED.
APRIL 1999: 1,526 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 186 FLIGHT CREW (FC), 310 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA), & 235 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
1 MD-83 (49951), EX-EDELWEISS AIR (EDE), (GEF) LEASED. 1 MD-83 (53013), EX-AERO LLOYD (ADH), VALCARA LEASED. SELLS REMAINING DC-9-51'S TO CELSIUS AMTEC CORP, MIAMI. MD-83 (53182), EX-RENO AIR (RNO), AWAS (AWW) LEASED, (AAR) "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK.
MAY 1999: 1998 (PASSENGERS) (MILLION) TOP WORLD REGIONALS:
1 AMERICAN EAGLE 10.67; 2 COMAIR (COI) 6.18 (+16.55); 3 CONTINENTAL
EXPRESS 5.64 (+15.6%); 4 SKYWEST 4.51 (+55.4%); 5 CROSSAIR (CSR) 4.43 (+19%); 6 KLM UK (UKL) 4.41 (+1.7%); 7 (DLH) CITYLINE 4.40 (+13.3%); 8 UNI (MAK) 4.23 (+89.7%); 9 CANADIAN REGIONAL 4.19 (+23.1%); 10 HORIZON 4.09 (+18.2%); 11 MESABA 4.05 (+26.5%); 12 AIR CANADA
CONNECTOR 4.04 (+12.1%); 13 ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST 4.03 (+6.7); 14 TAM BRAZIL (TPR) 3.94 (+17.9%); 15 MESA 3.39 (-22.5%); 16 PIEDMONT (PIE) 3.09 (+6%); 17 (ALS) 2.94 (+7.9%); 18 AIR WISCONSIN 2.76 (+41.7%); 19 ATLANTIC COAST 2.53 (+52%); 20 TRANS STATES 2.45 (+2.7%).
JULY 1999: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1998 = +$7.4 MILLION (X2) (NET PROFIT). 1ST 6 MONTHS = 914 MILLION (RPK) (PASSENGER TRAFFIC) (+8%); 47.07 MILLION (FTK) (FREIGHT TRAFFIC) (-.5%); 1.35 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+3.9%).
NOVEMBER 1999: 1998 = +$3.21 MILLION (+$8.7 MILLION).
JANUARY 2000: 1999 = 3 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX).
48 DOMESTIC SERVICES AND 7 DAILY INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS, TO AMSTERDAM, BARCELONA, LONDON, AND PARIS.
THE AGA KHAN, FOUNDER & OWNER, PLANS TO SELL HIS 79.3% SHARE OF
MERIDIANA (ALS). EMPLOYEES OWN 16.6%.
TO CODE SHARE WITH ALITALIA (ALI), CAGLIARI - MILAN (MALPENSA), OLBIA - MILAN (MALPENSA)/ROME (FIUMICINO), VERONA - ROME (FIUMICINO).
DC-9-51 (47655) RETURNED TO LESSOR, LEASED TO SURINAME (SUR).
FEBRUARY 2000: 1,700 EMPLOYEES.
APRIL 2000: 1,500 EMPLOYEES.
MAY 2000: SERGIO ROSA, SENIOR VP TECHNICAL & OPERATIONS.
2 F 100'S, ALPI EAGLES (ELG) WET-LEASED, FOR SUMMER OPERATIONS.
JUNE 2000: TO PISA.
737-31S (29059, D-ADBO), DEUTSCH BA (DBA) WET-LEASED. 1 DC-9-50 (30589), RETURNED TO CELSIUS AMTEC, LEASED TO KHORS AIR (KHO).
JULY 2000: 1999 = +L1.2 BILLION (-79.3%): 2.08 BILLION (RPK) PASSENGER TRAFFIC (+9.3%); 54% LF LOAD FACTOR; 3.08 MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+4.7%); 1,500 EMPLOYEES (+30.5%).
SEPTEMBER 2000: AWAITING COMPLETION OF LARGER MAINTENANCE HANGAR FOR 3RD PARTY WORK, INCLUDING "2A" CHECK FOR ALITALIA (ALI) MD-80'S,
& DC-9-51, FOR KHORS AIR (KHO).
OCTOBER 2000: MAJOR SHAREHOLDER, THE AGA KHAN DECIDES TO RETAIN HIS 79.3% STAKE, AND MERIDIANA (ALS) IS NO LONGER FOR SALE.
CATANIA - TURIN - LONDON (LGW) (MD-82, DAILY), IN DECEMBER 2000.
JANUARY 2001: COMPLETES "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK OF NOUVELAIR (NOU) MD-80. WORKING ON 2ND.
MARCH 2001: PLANS FOR FACILITY EXPANSION TO BE ABLE TO DO 737's IN ADDITION TO PRESENT MD-80 MAINTENANCE UP TO "C" MAINTENANCE CHECK AND LATER, TO ADD A320 CAPABILITY.
APRIL 2001: 1,500 EMPLOYEES.
(ALS) ENGINEERING IS USING myboeingfleet.com.
MAY 2001: RESUMES BOLOGNA - NAPLES (DAILY), OPERATIONS BY ALPI EAGLES (ELG).
OCTOBER 2001: TERMINATES ITS WET-LEASES WITH ALPI EAGLES (ELG) FOR 1 F 100 AND ITALY FIRST, FOR 2 ATR42'S.
DECEMBER 2001: IN MARCH 2001, NAPLES - PARIS (MD-82, 2/DAY).
JANUARY 2002: TO CAGLIARI - BOLOGNA. CAGLIARI - NAPLES (MD-82).
APRIL 2002: 1,500 EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING 211 FLIGHT CREW (FC); 350 CABIN ATTENDANTS (CA); & 200 MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS (MT)).
OWNERS: INTERPROGRAMME (57.19%); THE AGA KHAN (17.59%); EMPLOYEES (16.42%); AIRFIN (4.51%); FONDAZIONE CARIPLO (3.39%); & OTHERS (O.9%).
May 2002: 2001 = -EUR10.2 MILLION/-$9.02 MILLION (-$19.57 MILLION).
October 2002: Code share with Panair Italy (PIT), Rome (FCO) - Catania (8/day).
December 2002: Doing "C" maintenance checks on 6 MD-87's of (IBE).
Launches "French Revolution" promotion between Naples and Cagliari, to Paris (CDG).
February 2003: In March 2003, resumes code share with AlpiEagles (ELG), Bologna - Napoli (F 100, 5/day). Also, Venice to Barcelona, Cagliari, Catania, Naples, Palermo, Naples - Barcelona, and Milan (Linate) - Naples/Palermo.
March 2003: With Panair (PIT) ceasing operations, who (ALS) used to code share with, now resumes Rome (FCO) - Catania. Olbia - Catania (MD-82, weekly).
June 2003: Next month, code share with Alpi Eagles (ELG), Palermo - Rome (FCO) (F 100, 4/day).
July 2003: Negotiations continue to integrate the privately-owned Sardinian airline Meridiana (ALS) into the Alitalia (ALI) Group.
September 2003: 2002 = +$400,000 (-$9.1 million): 2.25 billion (RPK) traffic (+5.1%); 3.3 million passengers (PAX) (+1.6%).
2002 TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC (RPK) (billion):
160 (SHG) 2.41; 161 (ROS) 2.38; 162 (RFG) 2.37; 163 (CHAUTAUQUA AIRLINES) 2.33; 164 (KLM) CITYHOPPER) 2.28; 165 (MCU) 2.26; 166 (ALS); 167 (GBA) 2.24; 168 (RYN) 2.23; 169 (GRD) 2.01; 170 (BRIT AIR) 1.93; 171 (FAT) 1.86.
October 2003: In March 2004, Catania/Palermo - Paris Charled de Gaulle (CDG) (5/week).
December 2003: 4 orders A319's, ex-Sabena (SAB) to be delivered in 1st Quarter 2004 to replace its B Ae 146's.
February 2004: Milan (Linate) - Rome (Fiumicino) (6 daily). In March 2004, Turin - Cagliari (daily).
March 2004: In June 2004, Florence - Cagliari (daily) and Olbia (3/week). In September 2004, Florence - Madrid.
1st A319-112 (1283, EI-DEZ), Pembroke (PEB) leased, delivery.
April 2004: 1,465 employees (including 211 Flight Crew (FC), 350 Cabin Attendants (CA), & 200 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).
In July 2004, moves its Pisa - Cagliari/Olbia services to Florence (A319). Catania, Palermo - Lampedusa; and Palermo - Pantelleria.
May 2004: Next month, Olbia - Pisa (daily). Milan Bergamo (BGY) - Olbia. In July 2004, Florence - Madrid (A319, 6/week).
A319-112 (1102, EI-DEY), delivery. Is wet-leasing an ATR42-300 (D-BCRP) from Avanti Air to operate Palermo - Lampedusa, Pantelleria and Catania - Lampedusa routes.
July 2004: 2003 = 2.57 billion (RPK) (traffic) (+14.1%).
3 A319's, Bayerische Landesbank leased, arranged by BAE Systems.
June 2005: 1,301 employees (including 214 Flight Crew (FC); 342 Cabin Attendants (CA); & 200 Maintenance Technicians (MT)).
October 2005: The Italian government as expected approved a financial assistance package for Italian airlines amounting to €200 million/$239 million. Deputy Transport Minister Mario Tassone stressed that the aid package is directed to the Italian airline industry as a whole to "help them overcome moments of crisis owing to the rising fuel price," "La Republica" reported. It added that Alitalia (ALI) will receive approximately €80 million. Because Rome cannot give aid to the carrier directly without violating European Union (EU) regulations on state aid, the decree is designed to provide benefits to all Italian airlines. The aid is welcome news to (ALI), which aims to present a revised restructuring plan that will persuade Deutsche Bank and Banca Intesa to guarantee a €1.2 billion capital increase.
November 2005: Volare Airlines (VLR)'s proposed sale has attracted offers from about 10 groups, including Alitalia (ALI), AirOne (ADH), Meridiana (ALS), Eurofly (EUY), and easyJet (EZY), "La Stampa" reported. The deadline for submission of takeover bids for (VLR) was Sunday at noon. (ALI) Chairman & CEO, Giancarlo Cimoli said that his carrier might buy (VLR) "if the price is fair." (VLR), which offers domestic and European low-fare flights under the volareweb.com brand, collapsed last year along with Air Europe (EIY), its carrier for intercontinental scheduled and charter flights. The companies were admitted to the so-called Extraordinary Management Procedure on November 30, 2004, and have been restructured by a government-appointed Extraordinary Commissioner.
December 2005: Meridiana (ALS) selected Messier Services as the landing gear Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) provider for its A319s.
February 2006: Air One (ADH) won its appeal to block Alitalia (ALI)'s takeover of Volare Airlines (VLR), "La Stampa" reported. A Roman civil court argued it would be improper for (ALI) to spend part of a €400 million/$483.7 million state-guaranteed bridge loan to buy the bankrupt (VLR), rather than to address its own financial difficulties. (ALI) bid €38 million for (VLR). (ADH) said it was satisfied with the ruling, whereas (ALI) described the court's decision as "abnormal," claiming it did not respond directly to (ADH)'s appeal. Meantime, Meridiana (ALS) called for the sale process to be abandoned and restarted.
Later, the Italian government said that it conditionally approved (ALI)'s €38 million/$45.9 million takeover of struggling (VLR), according to press reports. (ALI)'s bid had been challenged in court by domestic competitor (ADH), which will continue to press its claims. The acquisition depends on (ALI)'s keeping (VLR)'s operations going for at least two years while maintaining year-end 2005 employment levels. If it fails to abide by these conditions or if Italy's antitrust authority opposes the deal, then (ADH) will be adjudged the winner of the bid, the Industry Ministry said in a statement. A partnership between Meridiana (ALS) and former (ALI) subsidiary Eurofly (EUY) will take (VLR), if (ADH) is unable to proceed. The ministry is overseeing the so-called extraordinary administration of (VLR), which received permission earlier this month to take a €25 million, six-month loan from the government. (ALI) won its appeal in a Rome court against a previous ruling in favor of (ADH).
Milan Orio al Serio airport served 323,229 passengers in January, an increase of +21% over the year-ago month. Scheduled passenger traffic rose +28% to 273,000 while the number of charter passengers rose +3%.
April 2006: Meridiana (ALS) will inaugurate nonstop service from Bologna to Malta on June 1st. (ALS) will operate 2 flights a week on Thursdays & Sundays, using an MD-82.
May 2006: Meridiana (ALS) will inaugurate nonstop service from Venice to Olbia on June 9th. (ALS) will operate 6 flights a week, daily except Tuesdays, using an MD-80.
June 2006: Alitalia (ALI) and Meridiana (ALS) signed a code share agreement for the Rome - Cagliari route. (ALI) will add its code to (ALS)'s flights, while (ALS) will lease an (ALI) airplane to operate on the route. (ALI) lost the right to fly to Cagliari and Olbia in April, because it applied for renewal after a deadline set by ENAC. The three-year concession was awarded to Air One (ADH) and (ALS).
October 2006: Meridiana (ALS) will inaugurate nonstop service from Florence to Budapest on December 7th and operate 2 flights a week, on Thursdays & Sundays, using an A319. (ALS) will inaugurate nonstop service from Florence to Prague on December 9th and operate 2 flights a week, on Tuesdays, & Saturdays, using an A319.
December 2006: Starting March 25th, Bologna - Malta, 2/week, using MD-80s.
Meridiana (ALS) is buying a 29.9% stake in Italian leisure carrier Eurofly (EUY). (ALS), which is majority controlled by Prince Karim al-Hussayni, the Aga Khan, is acquiring the shares from Spinneker Luxembourg. (EUY) was established with a 45% shareholding by Alitalia (ALI) in response to the flag carrier's desire to develop the leisure travel market and launched operations in 1990. (ALI) acquired full control in 2000 and sold its stake to Spinneker in 2003. (EUY) was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in December 2005, with Spinneker keeping a 44% stake. (EUY) operates one A319, eight A320-200s and three A330-200s and emerged as launch customer for the A350-800 late last year, when it also ordered an additional two A330-200s.
October 2007: Meridiana (ALS) is planning to launch a new Ugandan carrier next month with the help of its parent, international development agency: the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). Air Uganda (AUN) will be based in Entebbe and will initially operate two daily flights to Nairobi in Kenya; four weekly flights to Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and three weekly flights to Juba in Sudan.
(AUN) will start with 1 DC-9, add an MD-87 in March, and take a second MD-87 in May. (AUN) will be (AKFED)'s third African carrier. It already owns 76% of Air Burkina (VBW), and 51% of Compagnie Aerienne du Mali (CMP). (AKFED) is also trying to acquire a stake in Air Ivoire (VUN) and is bidding with (ALS), which is 80% controlled by companies belonging to (AKFED) Chairman, Aga Khan, for a 40% stake in Rwandair-Express (RWA).
(AKFED) recently acquired 7 MD-87s, ex-Iberia Airlines (IBE) to support its African projects. The first MD-87 was placed into service by Ougadougou-based Air Burkina (VBW) in September and 2 MD-87s will be deployed with Compagnie Aerienne du Mali (CMP) to dramatically expand its regional operations with four flights per week to Dakar, three to Conakry, two to Abidjan, three to Ougadougou, two to Lome, and two to Cotonou, with plans to offer twice weekly flights to Brazzaville in Congo, and Libreville in Gabon, via Cotonou in Benin.
(AKFED) also wants to vecome involved in airport management, including taking stakes in airports and pursuing airport management contracts. (ALS) VP Business Development for (AKFED), Rene Decurey, said "We would like to get involved where it is crucial to managing quality. We would like to build a strong network, and a strong position in airports. There are options we would like, but one needs the other side as well. They need to be willing to open up and it is not easy at these airports.
November 2007: Aviareps is representing Italy's Meridiana (ALS) in Poland.
January 2008: Iberia (IBE) Maintenance reached a five-year deal with Italian carriers Eurofly (EUY) and Meridiana (ALS) for maintenance of 20 (CFM56-5B) engines powering eight A320s and two A319s. The work will be conducted at the (IBE) Maintenance facilities in Madrid.
April 2008: Meridiana (ALS) has increased its stake in fellow Italian carrier, Eurofly (EUY) to 46.1%. (ALS) first acquired a 30% stake in (EUY) in late 2006.
(ALS) has signed a code share deal with Iberia (IBE), covering services to Cagliari, Catania, and Olbia. The Italian carrier's passengers will be able to access (IBE) destinations in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, the USA, and Africa.
May 2008: Meridiana (ALS) is Italy's third airline, serving domestic and European destinations.
Employees = 1,427.
(IATA) Code: IG - 191. (ICAO) Code: ISS (Callsign - MERAIR).
Parent organization/shareholders: Interprogramme (57.19%); SA Aga Khan (17.59%); employees (16.08%); Airfin SpA (in liquidation) (4.51%); Fondazione Cariplo (3.39%); & other shareholders (1.24%).
Subsidiaries: EuroFly (EUY) (46.1%).
Alliances: Alitalia (ALI); & EuroFly (EUY).
Main Base: Olbia Airport (OLB).
Hubs: Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG); Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR); & Verona Villafranca International Airport (VRN).
Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Alghero; Bologna; Cagliari; Catania; Florence; Lampedusa; Milan; Naples; Olbia; Palermo; Pantellaria; Rome; Turin; & Verona.
International, Scheduled Destinations: Amsterdam; Barcelona; London; & Madrid.
March 2009: Lufthansa (DLH) Systems said it will provide a package of aeronautical Information Technology (IT) solutions to Meridiana (ALS) under a five-year contract that also covers Eurofly (EUY). Solutions include Lido RouteManual navigation charts, the Lido FMS navigational database and the Lido OC flight planning solution.
November 2009: Eurofly (EUY) and Meridiana (ALS) will merge into "Meridiana Fly," the Italian carriers confirmed. (ALS) already owns 60.7% of Eurofly (EUY). The new airline will focus on medium- and long-haul services while "peak" summer and winter short-haul and charter operations will be handled by a newly incorporated company called "Meridiana Express" that will be part of Meridiana Fly. Deadline for the integration is January 31. "The business combination is the final stage of a business process which commenced in 2007 [with the aim of achieving] significant commercial synergies and quality improvement of services provided," (ALS) said in a statement.
Eurofly (EUY) reported a net loss of -€23.3 million/-$34.3 million in the 2009 first half, widened from a -€14.9 million deficit in the year-ago period. Operating revenue fell -12.2% year-over-year to €143 million. Combined passengers carried in scheduled and charter services declined -23% year-over-year in the first six months to 715,959. (EUY) currently operates nine A320s and three A330s. Meridiana (ALS) operates 18 MD-82s and four A319s.
December 2009: Air Malta (MLT) and Meridiana (ALS)have entered into a code share arrangement on flights between Malta and Catania, Italy. (ALS) will offer services from Reggio Calabria to Olbia and Cagliari, via a stopover in Rome. The link from Reggio to Rome will be flown by (MLT), while the onward connection will be operated by (ALS).
February 2010: Finnair (FIN) will add its code to Meridiana (ALS)'s new twice-weekly, Helsinki - Florence A319 service beginning March 28.
Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has been operational since February 28 when Meridiana (ALS) and Eurofly (EUY) merged and currently operate a fleet of 4 A319-100s, 12 A320-200s, 9 MD-82s, 8 MD-83s and 3 A330-200s. Meridiana (ALS) has added an ex-Air Burkina (VBW) A319-100, three ex-Blue Wings (BLW) and ex-USA 3000 Airlines (USX) A320-200 and has wet-leased an A319-100 from Finnair (FIN) and an ATR42-500 from (DAT) – Danish Air Transport (DX/Vamdrup). It has added several new routes:
Alghero - Bari: weekly seasonal MD-82 service (already launched);
Alghero - Milan Linate: daily MD-82/83 service (already launched);
Bari - Mykonos: weekly seasonal MD-82 service until September 11;
Bologna Marconi - Lampedusa: weekly seasonal A320-200 service has started on June 12;
Florence - Helsinki: 2x-weekly A319-100 service has started on March 30;
Milan Linate - Bari: daily MD-82/83 service (already launched);
Milan Linate - Brindisi: weekly seasonal MD-82 service until September 12;
Milan Malpensa - Lampedusa: weekly seasonal A320-200 service started on May 22;
Olbia - Bari: 3x-weekly seasonal MD-82/83 service until September 3;
Olbia - Nice: 3x-weekly seasonal ATR 42-500 service between June 11 and September 10 (operated by (DAT));
Olbia - Palermo: 3x-weekly seasonal ATR 42-500 service until September 6 (operated by (DAT));
Olbia - Tortoli: 5x-weekly seasonal ATR 42-500 service until September 10 (operated by (DAT));
Rome Fiumicino - Lampedusa: 3x-weekly seasonal MD-82 service until September 11 (operated by ItAli Airlines (FS/Pescara));
Tortoli - Milan Malpensa: 2x-weekly seasonal ATR 42-500 service until September 12 (operated by (DAT));
Tortoli - Rome Fiumicino: daily seasonal ATR 42-500 service until September 12 (operated by (DAT);
Tortoli - Verona: 2x-weekly seasonal ATR 42-500 service until September 12 (operated by (DAT);
Venice Marco Polo - Bari: weekly seasonal A319-100 service until September 3;
Verona - Brindisi: weekly seasonal MD-82 service until September 12;
Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has however not launched its previously announced Venice Marco Polo - Bucharest Otopeni, Verona - Casablanca and Verona - Skopje routes. It has also not resumed its seasonal route from Palermo to Paris (CDG) this summer season. Meridiana (ALS) has entered into a code share agreement with Iberia (IBE) placing its (ALS) code on Iberia (IBE) services between Milan Linate and Madrid.
June 2010: A319-112 (588, I-EEZQ), Babcock (BBB) leased, ex-(F-OOUA).
August 2010: Olympic Air (OLY) and Meridiana Fly (ALS) have entered a code sharing deal that became effective on August 16. (ALS) will put its code on Olympic (OLY) services from Athens to Rome and Milan Malpensa. (OLY) will code share on (ALS) flights from Athens to Milan Malpensa and Verona, from Mykonos to Milan and Verona, from Santorini to Milan and from Mykonos to Bari.
Meridiana Fly (ALS) is Italy’s second-largest airline behind Alitalia (ALI) and has a strong focus on leisure destinations. Olympic Air (OLY), which is merging with local rival Aegean Airlines (CRM), has been hard hit by Greece’s financial crisis, which has had a deep impact even on leisure travel to the country.
February 2011: Alitalia (ALI) and Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) are in talks about a possible partnership, (ALS)/(EUY) said, although it did not confirm reports in "Il Messaggero" that the airlines’ respective management teams are reviewing the details of a possible acquisition. The Italian newspaper reported that (ALI) would be interested in buying (ALS)/(EUY) to prevent Lufthansa (DLH) from stepping in.
“The company's future lies with national and international partnerships . . . and the talks with (ALI) referred to in the press today should be considered in that context,” (ALS)/(EUY) said in a statement released on its website. “At this stage, no partnership agreement exists and no decision has been taken. As a consequence at this stage, any enterprise value hypothesis appears groundless.”
Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) was formed last year through the consolidation of Meridiana (ALS) and Eurofly (EUY). It operates a network of domestic, European and intercontinental routes using a fleet of 38 airplanes, comprising 17 MD-82s, 12 A320s, four A319s, three A330s and two ATR 42s, as of September 30, 2010. Last month, it stated it would undertake “a series of actions aimed at strengthening the competitive position of company through a more precise focus on the areas of most interest strategic” and reduce its MD-80 fleet and implement a restructuring of its cost structure and network. It is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange.
(ALS)/(EUY) posted a net loss of -€16.4 million/-$22.2 million in the first nine months of 2010 on revenue of €499.6 million. Passenger boardings totaled 3.7 million.
October 2011: Meridiana Fly (ALS) having already embarked on a round of consolidation through its link-up with leisure carrier Eurofly (EUY), has now struck a deal to merge with leisure operator Air Italy (ITZ) to have a fleet of 35 airplanes.
The combination is aimed at establishing a strong Sardinian operation, and targets a financial turnaround. (ALS)/(EUY) first half losses increased to -€69 million/-$93 million, with a combined revenue in excess of >€800 million.
December 2011: Royal Jordanian (RJA) and Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) reached a code share agreement under which (RJA) will add its code on (ALS)/(EUY)'s flights from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Verona, while (ALS)/(EUY) will add its code to (RJA) flights between Milan Malpensa and Amman (AMM), and between (FCO) and (AMM), beginning December 8.
January 2012: Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) has announced further details of its restructuring plan that sees (ALS)(EUY) reducing its MD-80 fleet down to 7 airplanes based in Olbia. (ALS)/(EUY) and Air Italy (ITZ) are still operating as separate entities but are utilizing each other’s airplanes as required and the merger process has been heavily delayed because of disputes between management and trade unions, a variety of other fleet development plans have been announced and then again withdrawn but will obviously be key to the success of the merger given Air Italy (ITZ) operates 737s and 767s and Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) besides their MD-80s, operates A319s, A320s and A330s.
They have launched joint new routes:
Milan Linate - Bari: 2x-daily A320-200 service has started on October 30;
Verona - Mauritius: weekly 767-300ER service has started on December 19 (operated by Air Italy (ITZ)).
Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) has given up its routes from Florence to Barcelona on August 27, from Milan Malpensa to Colombo Bandaranaike International on September 13, from Milan Malpensa to Cairo on September 16, from Florence to Madrid on October 10, and from Bologna Marconi to Catania, from Florence to Catania and Olbia, as well as from Verona to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion in late October. It will also terminate its Bologna Marconi - Moscow Domodedovo services as of January 13 and its Rome Fiumicino - Tel Aviv Ben Gurion route on March 22. Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) had again operated its seasonal summer only services from Tortoli to Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and Verona between August 8 and October 10 using an ATR42-300 wet-leased from DAT - Danish Air Transport.
Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) has entered into a unilateral code share agreement offering Air Berlin (BER) services between Italy and Germany under (ALS)/(EUY) flight numbers as well. In addition, it now also code shares with Royal Jordanian (RJA) on (RJA) services from Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino to Amman Queen Alia.
July 2012: Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) had a net loss of -$42 million for the second quarter. Has had to cut (ASK) capacity by a third during the first half.
August 2012: Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has increased frequencies on its existing domestic routes from Catania Fontanarossa (CTA) to Milan Linate (LIN), Turin Caselle (TRN) and Verona Villafranca (VRN) airports effective July 12 and has launched a new twice daily, MD-82 service between Catania and Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International (FCO) airports following the suspension of all Windjet (WJT) services on July 11.
September 2012: Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has announced that it will pull out of its domestic routes from/to Bari Karol Wojtyla International (BRI) from September 16, dropping its flights from Milan Linate (LIN) and Verona Villafranca (VRN) in protest of the marketing subsidies competitor Ryanair (RYR) receives from the airport in Bari for its flights from Milan Orio al Serio (BGY) and Verona.
Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has quickly reacted to a major dispute between Ryanair (RYR) and Verona Villafranca (VRN) airport by announcing new daily routes from Verona to both London Gatwick (LGW) and Palermo Falcone e Borsellino International (PMO) from October 12. (ALS)/(EUY) will operate a daily A319-100 to Gatwick and daily flights to Palermo with a mix of A320-200s and MD-82s. (RYR) has announced that it will no longer serve Verona from October 12 giving only two weeks notice after it could not agree with the airport's new management team that no longer wanted to offer the same terms as previously contractually agreed according to (RYR). Currently, (RYR) operates to Verona from Alghero Fertilia (AHO), Bari Karol Wojtyla International (BRI), Brindisi Casale (BDS), Brussels Charleroi (CRL), Dublin International (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), London Stansted (STN), Madrid Barajas (MAD), Palermo Falcone e Borsellino International (PMO), Paris Beauvais Tillé (BVA) and Trapani Vincenzo Florio (TPS).
October 2012: Italy and Russian aviation authorities have appointed Italy’s Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) as a second designated carrier on the Milan - Moscow route.
Alitalia (ALI) has been the only Italian airline operating the Milan - Moscow route. (ALI) performs daily flights between these destinations but starting on October 29, it will add four more weekly flights.
Earlier this year, the two governments agreed to change their bilateral agreement and add one more designated carrier from the each side on the Rome - Moscow and Milan - Moscow routes, on which only Aeroflot (ARO) and (ALI) were allowed to fly.
Russian authorities already have designated Transaero Airline (TRX) as the second Russian carrier.
November 2012: Meridiana Fly (ALS)(EUY) in the third quarter earned a profit of +$9 million. This was helped by the collapse of Windjet (WJT) which opened up some opportunities in Sicily and Ryanair (RYR) leaving Verona. (ALS)/(EUY) was not too pleased to see Easyjet (EZY) be recently awarded the slot between Milan Linate and Rome Fiumicino.
January 2013: Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY), which had its license downgraded by the Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC) this month, said it will continue normal flight operations. A new provisory license, issued because of the airline’s financial difficulties, expires in one year.
Meridiana S p A (ALS), which merged with Air Italy (ITZ) in 2011, reacted swiftly to the license downgrade by replacing (CEO), Giuseppe Gentile with controlling stakeholder Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), Aviation Director, Roberto Scaramella. It also outlined a new business plan and struck a deal to buy out the 38.71% stake held by Air Italy (ITZ)’s former shareholders, taking its total Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) ownership to 89.91%.
Meridiana S p A (ALS) has offered former Air Italy (ITZ) shareholder, Marchin Investments €0.506 per share. The two other shareholders (Pathfinder and Zain Holding) accepted a slightly higher price of €0.596 per share. The share transfer is set to conclude by February 15.
“With regard to the (ENAC) decision to suspend the license and simultaneously assign a provisory license, the company confirms there will be no change in its operations. Further, consultations will be immediately initiated with the air transport authority to collectively plan the re-issuance of a permanent license,” Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) and its parent company, Meridiana S p A said in a joint statement.
Meridiana S p A and (AKFED) will step in, if recapitalization is needed.
Three other Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) Directors ((CCO), Alessandro Notari, Carlo Rota and Mario Porcaro) also resigned as part of the shake-up. In addition, four auditors across the two airlines will step down.
Olbia-headquartered, Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) was created in 2010 following the merger of charter airline Eurofly (EUY) and scheduled carrier, Meridiana (ALS).
According to its new business plan, Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) will remain active in all its “strategic areas,” although it will push ahead with significant network and capacity cuts initiated January 7. It is also planning to return some excess airplane to lessors. A staff lay-off plan was agreed to in December.
The airline’s losses now exceed one-third of its share capital and late last year a source familiar with the situation said: “Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) needs to survive until next April. Next summer, either the airline takes off or it will go down.”
Later, Air Italy ((IATA) Code: I9, based at Milan Malpensa (MXP)) and sister carrier Meridiana fly ((IATA) Code: IG, based at Olbia Costa Smeralda (OLB)) (ALS)/(EUY) have both had their full air operator certificates (AOC) revoked by Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) due to the financial difficulties of the two carriers. Both have now been issued temporary air operator certificates (AOC)s instead that will expire in one year. During a turbulent board of Directors meeting following the decison, the carriers have decided to fully merge Air Italy (ITZ) into Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) from February 15 onwards and to replace (CEO), Giuseppe Gentile by Roberto Scaramella based on a proposal by Meridiana (ALS) Founder and minority investor, Aga Khan. The existing Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) investors including the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development will also acquire the 38.71% stake in Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) and Air Italy (ITZ) currently owned by the Air Italy Holding in which Gentile also owns a share.
March 2013: Financially troubled Italian carriers Air Italy (ITZ) and Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) were expected to have merged on February 15. The airlines had their Air Operator Certificates (AOC)s revoked by the Italian Civil Aviation authorities (ENAC) in mid-January and are flying under temporary arrangements which are due to expire at the end of 2013.
April 2013: Russia and Finland authorities have agreed to designate second carriers on the Moscow - Helsinki route. The first designated airline from each side has “14 frequencies per week” and the second designated airline from each side “will have seven frequencies per week,” effective from the (IATA) winter season 2013 - 2014, according to a statement by Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia.
Currently, only Aeroflot (ARO) and Finnair (FIN) are allowed to operate flights between these cities. (FIN) operates nine flights per week, seven of which are under a code share agreement with (ARO). (ARO) performs 14 flights per week, seven of which are a code share.
Over the last year, Russia has liberalized bilateral agreements with Italy and France, adding more carriers on routes connecting Moscow with Rome, Milan, Paris, and Nice. Russia’s Transaero Airlines (TRX) won the rights to fly from Moscow to Rome, Milan and Paris, while Rossiya Airlines (SDM), a member of the Aeroflot (ARO) group, launched flights from Moscow to Nice. French Aigle Azur (AZU) was allowed to launch flights from Paris and Nice to Moscow; it has already launched the Paris route and will launch the Nice flight later this year. Italian Blue Panorama (BPA) started Rome - Moscow flights at the beginning of April, while Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) was designated at Milan - Moscow.
July 2013: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) commenced operations on the domestic route from Lampedusa (LMP) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) on July 13th. (ALS)/(EUY), which already operates services from the Mediterranean island to Verona (2x-weekly), Bologna and Milan Malpensa (both weekly), now offers weekly flights to Rome. The A320-operated service faces competition from Blue Panorama Airlines (BPA)’s 4x-weekly and Alitalia (ALI)’s 2x-weekly frequencies, and is scheduled to terminate on September 14th.
September 2013: Italy’s air navigation services provider (ENAV) has reduced its terminal air navigation charges -25% for the last 4 months of this year, saving airlines an estimated -€20 million/-$26.4 million.
December 2013: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) started new flights from Naples (NAP) on December 7th, linking Italy’s 3rd largest municipality (after Rome and Milan) to Kiev Boryspil (KBP). The weekly (Saturday) operation intends to utilize leased-in 737-300 equipment from Air Italy (ITZ) on the 1,650 km sector. There are no competitors on the city-pair and this represents (ALS)/(EUY)’s 1st service to the Ukrainian capital. However, Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) also intends to start a 2x-weekly operation from Verona to Kiev Boryspil from December 21st.
January 2014: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) launches 3x-weekly, London Gatwick to Naples on March 30; in June, it adds +2 more weekly services.
April 2014: Meridiana Fly (ALS)/(EUY) has started services on its sixth domestic route from Cagliari (CAG), linking the Sardinian capital with Milan Malpensa (MXP), initially on a 2x-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) basis. The route is clearly highly seasonal, as it takes a ‘break’ after the initial two weekly flights until May 16th, when it re-starts, and gradually builds to 2x-daily (from July 1st), before closing on September 29th. The operation began on April 18th and will be flown by a variety of the airline’s equipment. easyJet (EZY) is currently flying the route with an 8x-weekly service on the 710 km sector.
May 2014: Meridiana ((IATA) Code: IG, based at Olbia) (ALS) has seen the Aga Khan's total shareholding in the company rise from 84.70%, to 96.87%, after one of his two companies involved in the airline (Arly Holdings) recently concluded a successful share buyback drive. In a Milan stock-exchange filing, Arly Holdings said 6'641'322 ordinary shares, or 2.28% of the airline's total share capital, had been acquired. With the voluntary offer having expired on May 2, a payment of EUR0.50/USD0.67 per share will be issued on May 9.
The Aga Khan's other company, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), already owns 84.70% of Meridiana Spa.
With the conclusion of the deal, Meridiana (ALS) will cease "to be an issuer of publically-traded financial instruments with effect from December 31."
Earlier this year, the Aga Khan said control of the airline would grant it greater strategic and operational flexibility and also would also open the door to possible tie-ups with other international carriers.
June 2014: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) launched 5 new routes, with a total of 8 airports witnessing new flights from (ALS)/(EUY). The longest of the 5 city pairs was the weekly operation between Cagliari (CAG) and London Gatwick (LGW), at 1,506 km, while the shortest was the 710 km sector between Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Menorca (MAH). Other flights were Olbia (OLB) to Brussels (BRU), plus (FCU) to Santorini (JTR) and to Heraklion (HER).
July 2014: Meridiana (ALS) launched a trio of new routes, two domestic and one international. Commenced on July 25th, (ALS) started a 2x-weekly service (Mondays and Fridays) between Cagliari (CAG) and Trieste (TRS), flown by its 165-seat MD-80s. Also on July 25th, it linked Olbia (OLB) with the same city in NE Italy, with the same frequency on the same days with the same airplanes. The following day, Meridiana (ALS) launched a weekly (Saturdays) service between Naples (NAP) and Rhodes (RHO), which will utilize a variety of equipment. All routes will face no direct competition and will cease seasonal operations by September 6th.
The holding company controlling Italian carrier, Meridiana (ALS) will be de-listed from the stock exchange and taken private January 1, 2015 following a share buy-back program. The move will ease the administrative load on (ALS), which has been loss-making for several years, an airline spokesman said.
Sardinia-based, Meridiana (ALS) was founded in 1963 as Alisarda by the Aga Khan, leader of the world’s 20 million-strong Ismaili Moslem community. It was created as a means of improving the economy of Sardinia, through developing its inbound tourism potential; the Aga Khan has been responsible for considerable tourism infrastructure on the Costa Smeralda, in the northeast of the island.
One of his companies, Arly Holdings, has now bought out minority shareholders in the airline’s holding company, Meridiana SpA, after having undertaken a similar operation with the shares of the airline itself in 2013. Companies controlled by the Aga Khan have raised their shareholding in the holding company from 84.7% to 96.9%.
Minority shareholders of Meridiana SpA were mainly employees or former employees of the airline. “Being listed does not affect your ability to react to changes in the market place, but the market and the minority shareholders must receive frequent updates regarding the market events and the strategy of the company,” the airline spokesman said. “This can represent a real burden for the management, at least for smaller airlines like Meridiana (ALS).”
The delisting will not affect the airline’s continued pursuit of its restructuring plan, he said.
Launched in January 2013, this involves reshaping (ALS)’ route network to focus activities “on a limited number of catchment areas where Meridiana (ALS) can be the leading carrier.”
A fleet harmonization program is underway and the workforce is being optimized. Currently, Meridiana (ALS)’s website details a mixed, 27-strong fleet, consisting of 10 McDonnell Douglas MD-82s, 7 Airbus A320s, 3 Boeing 737-700s, 2 737-800s, 2 737-300s, 2 767-300s and 1 767-200.
“Upon completion of these 3 steps, in the next 10 to 14 months, we will have a much more competitive airline and will be able to start considering growth opportunities in a more consistent and sustainable way,” the spokesman said.
He said losses had been considerably reduced over the past year “after many years of deteriorating results.” The most recent publicly available figures for the airline are for the year ended October 31, 2012 and show a net loss of -€190.2 million/-$257 million on revenue of €579.5 million.
“We are now progressing in our improvement plan and with the completion of the strategic steps highlighted above, we will be able to reach operating profitability in the next 12 months,” he said.
August 2014: The Meridiana Group will begin 2x-weekly, Turin to Berlin service in November.
Meridiana (ALS) has added 3 more seasonal routes to its S14 offering, with all services scheduled to finish operations by the first week in September. Started on July 30th, (ALS) now links Cagliari (CAG) with Kiev Boryspil (KBP). The weekly service (Wednesdays) will be operated by Air Italy (ITZ)’s 143-seat 737s and will face no direct competition. Commenced on August 1st, (ALS) will also link Naples (NAP) with Mykonos (JMK). The weekly service (Fridays) will also be operated by Air Italy (ITZ)’s 737s, but it will encounter direct competition from Volotea (six times weekly) and easyJet (EZY) (2x-weekly) on the 1,028 km city pair. Started on the same day, was the 1,502 km route between Bologna (BLQ) and Santorini (JTR). Operated by (ALS)’s 180Y-seat A320s, the weekly (Fridays) service will face Blue Panorama Airlines (BPA)’ 2x-weekly operation in terms of competition.
September 2014: Meridiana (ALS) is set to dramatically expand its Naples International operations when it establishes the Italian port city as its Mediterranean hub in late October. Speaking to the local Italian press earlier this week, (ALS)'s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Andrea Andorno, said the decision to upgrade Naples to a hub airport came on the back of a very strong summer season.
Beginning October 26, the following new destinations will be added to Naples' network: Bologna, Genoa, Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Lvov, Madrid Barajas, and Sharm el Sheikh.
(ALS) already operates an extensive international network out of Naples with flights to throughout Italy, Europe, the USA, and Russia offered in conjunction with its Air Italy (ITZ) subsidiary.
(ALS) management has agreed to defer plans to cut up to -1,600 jobs until October following a meeting between airline representatives, trade unionists and government officials in Rome. (ALS) said that the process of downsizing had been delayed until October 21 to allow for additional dialogue between the parties concerned.
"During this period, a series of meetings have been scheduled aimed at reaching an agreement on the best way forward concerning the redundancies, without prejudice to the primary objective of company's relaunch," it said.
The loss-making carrier embarked on a restructuring program in 2013 among whose objectives are the retirement of its Airbus Industrie (EDS) fleet, the termination of loss-making routes, and the downsizing of the workforce to a size commensurate to its scale of operations.
Meanwhile, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Andrea Andorno has dismissed claims (ALS) is interested in a tie-up with Qatar Airways (QTA) stating Meridiana (ALS)'s biggest concern at present, is the successful completion of its restructuring program.
(ALS) currently operates 29 airplanes, travels to 23 countries, 44 destinations on 84 routes and 65 daily flights.
November 2014: News Item A-1: Meridiana (ALS) offers direct service from Naples for winter season: Bologna (2x-daily), Genoa (daily), Milan Malpensa (6x-weekly), Geneva (2x-weekly, December 7), Lviv (weekly, December 16), Madrid (4x-weekly) and Sharm El Sheikh (weekly, December 21).
News Item A-2: Meridiana has named former Aer Lingus and Ukraine International Airlines executive Richard Creagh as its new group (CEO), succeeding Roberto Scaramella who resigned on November 18 for personal reasons.
This marks the group’s second substantial management overhaul in two years, as Scaramella was brought in with a new team in January 2013 to restructure and relaunch the group’s two airlines, Meridiana fly (ALS) and Air Italy (EUY). At the time, Meridiana fly was facing financial problems and had just been downgraded to a temporary license.
Announcing the latest reshuffle, the group said: “The board of directors of Meridiana fly, in its new structure, in agreement with the controlling shareholder has expressed its commitment to speed up the business turnaround process, started successfully by the previous management, fully confirming the redundancy procedure in line with what the company has already announced. In particular, cost reduction, competitiveness recovery and the stabilization of the financial position will be among the main goals to build a better and stronger Meridiana.”
As well as taking on the role of group (CEO), Creagh has also become executive Vice Chairman, Meridiana fly (ALS) and Air Italy (ITZ). New accountable managers have also been named for the two airlines, with Ivano Pippobello taking responsibility for Meridiana fly (ALS) and Domenico Mazza heading Air Italy (ITZ).
Finance specialists, Colin Smith and Fabian Bachrach have been appointed as board advisors. Smith has provided strategic and financial consultancy to a number of major airlines, including Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Gulf Air (GUL), Iberia (IBE), (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines, (TAP) Portugal, (TWA), and Ukraine International Airlines (UKR), while Bachrach founded Florida-based lessor Air Finance Corporation.
This summer, Meridiana (ALS)’s holding company detailed plans to delist the group from the stock exchange.
December 2014: Meridiana (ALS) has started its 3rd route from Turin (TRN), adding its 1st international destination from the from the Northern Italian airport. The 2x-weekly (Fridays and Sundays) service to Berlin Tegel (TXL) marks (ALS)'s only route to the German capital, and joins existing domestic operations to Naples and Cagliari. Started on November 28th, the 917 km sector is operated by Romanian low cost carrier (LCC) Blue Air (BLD), using its 156-seat 737-400s. There is no competition on this city pair.
August 2015: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) began 2 new seasonal services to the Greek island of Skiathos (JSI) on July 29. The 2x-weekly (Wednesdays and Fridays) flights from Milan Malpensa (MXP) will face no direct competition, while its similarly scheduled (Wednesdays and Thursdays) service from Naples (NAP) will encounter resistance from Volotea (VLZ)’s 4x-weekly operation. The former 1,405 km sector will run until September 16, while the latter 806 km route will terminate on September 3. Both services are flown by (ALS)/(EUY)’s 737s.
February 2016: "Qatar Airways (QTA), Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) Sign Partnership Agreement" by (ATW) Alan Dron, February 4, 2016.
Qatar Airways (QTA) and the parent of Italian airline, Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on “a potential partnership project,” (ALS)/(EUY) said on February 4.
Few details were given by Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) in a brief statement, which was issued following several recent inaccurate stories in the Italian media about a link between the 2 carriers, according to spokeswoman, Loredana De Filippo.
“The 2 parties have agreed upon the pillars of the business proposition, which envisages a reinforcement of (ALS)/(EUY) with the objective of making it a solid player in the very competitive European aviation industry. The 2 parties have signed a memorandum of understanding which outlines the conditions precedent for the partnership."
If those conditions are met, an agreement would conclude in the 1st half of this year, the statement added. De Filippo declined to give further details, notably on whether Qatar Airways (QTA) would take a shareholding in Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY).
(QTA) issued a similarly brief statement. It has been known (QTA) has been looking closely at (ALS)/(EUY) for several months.
The (MOU) has been signed by (QTA) and Alisarda, a holding company that forms part of the portfolio of interests held by the Aga Khan, the leader of the worldwide Ismailia Moslem community. Aga Khan has had a longstanding interest in the economic development of Sardinia.
Alisarda (Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY)’s original name, when it was created in 1963) also controls Sardinian airport management company Geasar, operator of Olbia Airport on the Mediterranean island.
Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) operates a fleet of 9 Boeing 737s (2 737-300s, 3 737-700s and 4 737-800s), 4 767s (3 767-300s and 1 767-200), and 7 MD-82s. It operates under 2 brands, Meridiana Fly (ALS) and Air Italy (EUY), although the latter operates purely as a capacity provider to Meridiana (ALS) and flies in the latter’s livery.
Like many medium-sized European airlines, Meridiana (ALS) has struggled in the face of competition from low-cost carriers in recent years. The Italian government has been helping to foot its wages bill, but told the airline last year that it should seek a partner.
March 2016: March 2016: Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) is targeting breakeven this year after several years of heavy losses.
The Sardinia-based airline, which was taken private by its owners and de-listed from the Italian stock exchange last year, made an (EBIT) loss of -€43 million/-$48 million in 2015, a considerable improvement on the 2014 deficit of -€145 million.
It is restructuring, optimizing its route network by dropping loss-making routes, increasing frequencies on profitable ones, and is in negotiations with trade unions over shedding staff.
A March 23 deadline to reach agreement on the number of jobs to be lost passed without a settlement being signed. A new deadline of April 11 has now been set.
Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) has two operating units, Meridiana Fly (ALS), with eight MD-80 series airplanes, while Air Italy (EUY), which it bought in 2011, is the larger unit, with a mix of 12 Boeing 737-300s and 737-800s, plus 4 767-300s and 767-400s. Air Italy (EUY) now functions as a capacity provider for Meridiana Fly (ALS), rather than operating under a separate identity.
Meridiana Fly (ALS)’s operations are heavily seasonal and many of its 1,600 staff, particularly cabin crew (CA), only work for part of the year. However, due to a quirk of Italian labor law, part-time staff can claim salaries year-round. Around 500 cabin crew (CA) are understood to benefit from this arrangement. Meridiana Fly (ALS) has a staff of 1,600 and was initially trying to shed -982 staff. This figure has now been reduced to 514.
Meridiana Fly (ALS) has been trying to persuade staff to transfer to Air Italy (EUY), which has a significantly lower salary structure. If a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Qatar Airways (QTA) is firmed into a partnership (it is believed that (QTA) would take up to 49% of a new holding company, with the other 51% being held by Alisarda, Meridiana’s current parent (there would also be opportunities for staff to transfer to the rapidly expanding (QTA).
The question of shedding staff is becoming urgent. A looming June 30 change in Italian labor laws means that the current generous redundancy arrangement of four years’ social security payments at 80% of employees’ current salaries will end on that date, to be replaced by just one year of payments.
June 2016: A June 26 deadline concluded negotiations that would allow Qatar Airways (QTA) to take a major stake in Italian carrier Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY).
(QTA) proposed taking a 49% shareholding in (ALS)/(EUY), which has been loss-making since 2008 and kept afloat by financial infusions from its ultimate owner, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. The Aga Khan, the leader of the world’s Ismailia Moslem community, created the airline in 1963 to promote tourism in Sardinia.
(QTA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) in February, under which it would take up to 49% shareholding in a strategic partnership and improve the carrier’s financial position.
However, (QTA) said it was only prepared to get involved if (ALS)/(EUY) could cut its workforce, which currently comprises 1,600 employees. It said -527 (mainly cabin crew (CA)) would have to go to bring staff numbers down to (QTA)’s desired level.
Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) warned staff that if it did not reach an agreement with (QTA) to gain its support, a much larger number of redundancies (—955) would be required to sustain the airline.
Talks between the (ALS)/(EUY) and its unions have been taking place in Rome. On June 21, (QTA) walked away from the negotiating table, citing the unions’ reluctance to reach an agreement. It was encouraged to return by Italian Transport Minister, Graziano Delrio, who is heavily involved in the redundancy talks.
Qatar (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker added he wanted to grow Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) as an independent airline, which would retain its brand. He noted (QTA) has nearly 70 weekly frequencies from Doha to Italy (a link-up with (ALS)/(EUY) offers the opportunity to feed passengers into its domestic and international networks.
He also said (ALS)/(EUY) needs refleeting and has offered to help provide new aircraft. ”You don’t expect me to be a substantial shareholder and to fly with 35-year-old MD-80s,” he said. “Qatar Airways (QTA)’s oldest aircraft is 10 years old. Several Airbus A330s and A320s can be transferred to Meridiana (ALS)/(EUY) as (QTA) gets more aircraft.”
An (ALS)/(EUY) spokeswoman said that Sardinia, a popular European holiday destination, represents “a big opportunity, if you serve it with a brand that is known abroad.” Meridiana’s name is well known in Italy, but not internationally. Being able to attach the Qatar Airways (QTA)’s brand to its own, would boost its presence in international markets, she said.
November 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker is expecting to conclude a deal to acquire 49% of Italian carrier Meridiana Fly (ALS) by January 2017.
Talks toward the deal have been going on for months. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in early February, which led to an agreement signed July 14 at the Farnborough Airshow. After several delays, the deal was expected to close by October. “We are hoping to have our discussions concluded by the end of January. During this period Meridiana Fly (ALS) also has to deliver certain conditions and achieve certain targets in its performance. We want (ALS) to be a very strong national carrier with a robust international network,” Al Baker said, speaking at a recent media briefing in Florence.
Sardinia-based (ALS) is the 2nd largest Italian airline, operating flights to domestic and European destinations using a fleet of Boeing 737s, 767s and MD-82s.
The (QTA) (CEO) also detailed further Italian expansion plans during his visit. “Once the runway extension at Florence Airport is complete, we fully intend to start a service to this historic city,” he said. “We are also committed to upgrading the aircraft type currently flying to Pisa from an A320 to a wide body model as soon as we receive more airplanes.”
Qatar Airways (QTA) operates to 4 Italian destinations: Milan (2x-daily), Pisa (daily), Rome (2x-daily) and Venice (daily).
News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) has announced it is taking an almost 10% stake in Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT).
The agreement, which (QTA) said it expects to complete November 6, means (QTA) will hold a 9.6% stake in (CAT) at a value of about $600 million.
(CAT) and (QTA) are both members of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance.
(QTA) already has a 20% stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB), another Oneworld (ONW) alliance member, as well as a 10% stake in Santiago-based (LATAM) Airlines Group (LAN), and a 49% investment in Italy's Meridiana (ALS).
(QTA) backed off from a move in June to take a 10% stake in American Airlines (AAL), also in (ONW), after (AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker sharply rebuked the bid as “puzzling at best; concerning at worst.” (AAL) is campaigning with Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL to constrain growth of the major Gulf carriers: Qatar, Emirates Airlines (EAD) and Etihad Airways (EHD) over claims that they are heavily subsidized by their government owners.
Qatar Airways Group (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said on November 6 that Cathay (CAT) was “one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry and with massive potential for the future.”
(CAT) (CEO) Rupert Hogg said that the 2 airlines already work closely together as (ONW) members "and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship."
In August, (CAT) posted a net loss of -HKD2.1 billion/-$268.2 million for the 1st half of 2017, a reversal from a HKD353 million net profit in the same period last year. (CAT) faces increasing competition in many of its markets, particularly from mainland China’s major airlines. (CAT)’s major shareholders are Swire Pacific, which holds 35%, and Air China (BEJ), which holds almost 30%.
December 2017: Italian carrier Meridiana Fly (ALS), the subject of a 49% shareholding buy-in by Qatar Airways (QTA), intimated the 1st tangible signs of (QTA)’s influence December 14 with announcements of initial fleet upgrades and route network expansion.
February 2018: Leisure carrier Meridiana Fly (ALS) plans to rebrand as "Air Italy," according to the Sardinia, Italy-based airline and Qatar Airways (QTA), which has a 49% stake in (ALS).
The change of name is significant. (QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker wants to see Air Italy become Italy’s most important airline. He believes there is an opening in the market given Italian flag carrier Alitalia (ALI)’s insolvency administration. Airlines vying to acquire (ALI) have expressed interest in different parts of (ALI), but not the entire organization.
Plans to revitalize loss-making (ALS) have been expected ever since (QTA) confirmed in September 2017 that it had taken a 49% stake in (AQA) Holding, a new parent company for (ALS) in which (ALS)' previous parent, Alisarda, retained a 51% share.
At a February 19 press conference in Milan, senior officials from both airlines announced the name change and detailed plans to greatly expand (ALS). “Air Italy” is already a sub-brand of Meridiana Fly (ALS), which uses it as a capacity provider for charter services.
Under the new plan, Meridiana/Air Italy’s fleet will jump from 11 (8 Boeing 737NGs and 3 767-300s) to around 50 aircraft by 2022. It will receive 20 Boeing 737-800s from an order previously placed by (QTA), as well as 5 Airbus A330-200s from (QTA)’s fleet.
The A330s are being replaced in (QTA)'s fleet by 787-8s, of which (QTA) has 20 on order.
Air Italy (ALS) will launch a 4x-weekly flight from Milan Malpensa to Bangkok, with 3 more long-haul routes scheduled for introduction by the end of this year. The company had previously announced its intention to start services from Malpensa to Miami and New York this summer.
Air Italy (ALS) will also strengthen its domestic route network, linking Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Lamezia Terme. Domestic routes have been a major problem for national carrier Alitalia (ALI) in recent years, with heavy competition from (LCC)s such as Irish (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) and UK (LCC) easyJet (EZY).
“With high quality and an affordable schedule of services in the domestic, regional and intercontinental segments, Air Italy (ALS) will achieve global scale in both fleet and network expansion, offering high-quality, premium-class products across all flights on a modern fleet,” Al Baker said in Italy.
“Over the last 10 years, Meridiana Fly (ALS) has witnessed the radical transformation of the European aviation industry, characterized by fierce competition,” Alisarda Chairman Marco Rigotti said. “Air Italy aims to be a leader in the global industry, thanks to the airline’s hub in Milan Malpensa and the reinforced base of Rome Fiumicino, alongside the seasonal network from Olbia [Sardinia] heritage base, which is also the headquarters of the airline.”
March 2018: "Relaunched Air Italy (UUY) takes to the skies" by
Alan Dron (firstname.lastname@example.org) March 1, 2018.
Italian leisure carrier Meridiana (ALS) has relaunched as Air Italy (EUY), <2 weeks after the new name was announced.
The name Air Italy (EUY) was already in (EUY)’s brand portfolio as the title of a charter operator that Sardinia-based Meridiana (ALS) acquired in 2011. The former Air Italy (EUY) was incorporated into Meridiana (ALS) and acted as a capacity provider for the latter company.
However, Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) has now become the name for the entire group, following its relaunch with Qatar Airways (QTA) taking a 49% stake in Meridiana (ALS)’ new parent company, (AQA) Holding.
The 1st Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) flight took off at 2 am local time from Milan Malpensa Airport for Zanzibar, off the coast of East Africa. The 1st domestic flight under the new identity left Olbia, (ALS)/(EUY)’s home base in Sardinia, for Rome Fiumicino 5 hours later. Olbia will be (ALS)/(EUY)’s main base for short-haul services, while Malpensa will be the base for long-haul operations.
The company will retain Meridiana (ALS)’s (IG) flight prefix.
Air Italy (ALS)/(EUY) has a small fleet of around 12 Boeing 737-800s and 767-300ERs. However, these will be supplemented and replaced by 737 MAX 8s and Airbus A330-200s that will arrive via Qatar Airways (QTA) on leasing arrangements.
The A330s will, in turn, be replaced later by Boeing 787-8s, ordered by Qatar Airways (QTA) but destined for Air Italy.
The former Meridiana (ALS) was for many years 1 of the last major operators of the MD-80 series of jets; the type was withdrawn from service late last year and the last 1 departed Olbia on February 28.
Click below for photos:
ALS-737-700 - 2016-02.jpg
ALS-MD-82 - 2013-01
0 737-31S (CFM56-3) (2967-29059, D-ADBO), (DBA) WET-LEASED 2000-06 - 2000-09.
12 ORDERS 737 MAX 8:
6 ORDERS 787-8, EX-(QTA).
0 MD-82 (JT8D-217A) (1151-49247, /84 I-SMEL "PARCO GAIOLA;" 1152-49248, /84 I-SMEM "PENISOLA DELSINIS;" 1362-49531, /87 I-SMET "MIRAMARE NEL GOLFO DI TRIESTE;" 1493-49669, /88 I-SMEV "ISOLE DI VENTOTENE E SANTO STEFANO;" 1618-49740 /89 I-SMEP "PUNTA CAMPENELLA"). 165Y.
0 MD-82 (JT8D-217C) (1766-49901, /90 I-SMER "CINQUE TERRE," EX-(DGL); 1908-53064, /91 I-SMEB "PARCO DI BAIA," EX-(FAT); 1948-49902, /91 I-SMES "ISOLE PELAGIE;" 1949-49903, /91 I-SMEZ "SECCHE DI TOR PATERNO"), 165Y.
0 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (1628-49785, /89 EI-CIW "ISOLE TREMITI," EX-(TWA); 1655-49792, /89 EI-CKM "ISOLA DELL'ASINARA," EX-(CAU), (GEF) LEASED; 1773-49935, /90 EI-CRH "TORRE GUACETOR," EX-(EDE), (GEF) LEASED; 1915-49951, /91 EI-CRW "PORTOFINO," EX-(YHG), (GEF) LEASED; 2068-53182, /93 I-SMED "ISOLO CICLOPI," EX-(RNO). 160Y.
0 MD-83 (JT8D-217C) (1836-49808, /92 I-SMEC "PORTO CESARO"), EX-(NNA), (TIA) LEASED 1998-09. 160Y.
0 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (1601-49854, /89 EI-CRE "TAVOLARA-PUNTA CODA CAVALLO"), EX-(ADH), CRANE AV LEASED, (ASL) "D" MAINTENANCE CHECK. 160Y.
0 MD-83 (JT8D-219) (1738-53013, /90 EI-CRJ "ISOLE EGADI"), EX-(ADH), VALCARA LEASED 1999-03. 160Y.
0 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/2P) (588, I-EEZQ), (BBB) LEASED 2010-06, EX-(F-OOUA). RETURNED. 12C, 116Y.
0 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/2P) (1048, /99 EI-DFP "CAPO CACCCIA - ISOLA PIANA), EX-(SAB), DELVAUX LEASED 2004-05. 12C, 116Y.
0 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/2P) (1102, /99 EI-DEY "CAPO RIZZUTO:" 1283, /00 EI-DEZ "CAPO GALLO-ISOLA DELLE FEMMMINE," (PEB) LEASED 2004-03; 1305, /00 EI-DFA "CAPO CARBONARA"), EX-(SAB), BLB LEASED 2004-03. 12C, 116Y.
7 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (737, /97 I-EEZH; 749, /97 I-EEZI; 1125, /99 I-EEZK; 1198, /00 EI-EZR; 1937, /03 I-EEZE; 1983, /03 I-EEZF), LEASED 180Y.
4 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (1715, /02 EI-EZN; 1723, /02 EI-EZO; 1823, /02 EI-EZS; 1896, /02 EI-EZT), 180Y.
1 A320-233 (V2527E-A5) (2102, /03 I-EEZP), LEASED 2009-06. 180Y.
2 A330-223 (PW4168A) (665, /05 I-EEZJ, 2005-05; 822, /07, MI-EEZM, 2009-03), (ILF) LEASED. 822; WET-LEASED TO (ALG) 2012-07. 26C, 260Y.
1 A330-223 (PW4168A) (802, /06, EI-EZL), (TCI) LEASED 2006-12 IN "SAUDI ARABIAN" TITLES & COLORS. 26C, 260Y.
0 B AE 146-200 (RJ85) (ALF502R-5) (E2210, /92 I-FLRE "STARSHIP;" E2220, /93 I-FLRI "AIR ROSE;" E2227, /94 I-FLRO "MAYFLOWER;" E2204, /92 I-FLRU), E2204 RETURNED 2004-04. E2227 WFU KEMBLE 2004-07, TO (ROA) 2005-04. E2220 RETURNED 2004-08. 84Y.
0 B AE 146-200, WET-LEASED 2000-06, RETURNED.
0 ATR 42, ITALY ONE WET-LEASED, 2 RETURNED 2001-10.
2 ATR 42-300QC (PW120) (122, /89 D-BCRO; 158, /89 D-BCRP), AVANTI AIR WET-LEASED 2011-08. 46Y.
1 ATR 42-300 (PW120) (329, /94 D-BCRN), AVANTI AIR WET-LEASED 2006-08. 46Y.
0 SAAB 2000, MED AIR WET-LSD, 2 RETURNED.
1 BELL 412 (33078, /82).
0 F 100, (ELG) WET-LSD 5/00, 1 RETURNED 2001-10.
Click below for photos:
ALS-FLT OPS DIR-2008-04
FRANCO TRIVI, CHAIRMAN.
RICHARD CREAGH, MERIDIANA GROUP EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), EX-(UKR)/(ARL) (2014-11).
IVANO PIPPOBELLO, (CEO) MERIDIANA FLY (2014-11).
DOMENICO MAZZA, AIR ITALY (ITZ) (2014-11).
DR NEDO ANDOLFO, SENIOR VP PERSONNEL & INFORMATION SYSTEMS.
SERGIO ROSA, VP TECHNICAL DIVISION.
RENE DECUREY, VP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (FOR (AKFED)).
CAPTAIN ALESSANDRO SESTA, FLIGHT OPERATIONS DIRECTOR (OLBOMIG).
CAPTAIN GIAMPIERO TRAVERSO, FLIGHT SAFETY DIRECTOR (OLBOMIG).
CAPTAIN VINCENZO TREMANTE, FLIGHT TRAINING DIRECTOR
RENZO VALENTINI, DIRECTOR QUALITY SYSTEM.
MS ANDREA ANDORNO, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO).
CLAUDIO MIORELLI, DIRECTOR CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS & AFFAIRS.
MICHELE TARDI, DIRECTOR FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION.
FRANCO GIUDICE, DIRECTOR OPERATIONS & HUMAN RESOURCES (HR).
ALESSANDRO LODDO, ENGINEERING MANAGER (OLBBMMIG).
FABIO CARONTI, MAINTENANCE MANAGER.
GABRIELE RENZULLI, MANAGER PLANNING.