A new Italian airline launched its first long-haul route on Friday, flying from New York’s JFK airport to Milan’s Malpensa airport. “This is not just our first flight to Milan,” said Air Italy’s deputy executive chairman Marco Rigotti. “This is our first ever international flight under our new image and under this beautiful, striking livery.”
The flight represents a major milestone for the airline, which aims to grow from a small niche carrier to major international airline over the next several years, starting with six long-haul routes in 2018. The airline has more than 50 aircraft on order.
As you might be aware, Air Italy is not really a new airline. It is actually a rebranding of legacy Italian regional carrier Meridiana, which was itself the product of mergers with several other small Italian carriers. While the airline had flown successfully, promoting its brand and launching new routes as recently as 2014, the airline faced financial difficulties. They had several direct flights from NYC to Italy, with very competitive prices.
According to Marco Rigotti, Air Italy’s Executive Deputy Chairman, the airline is poised to grow quickly. It recently took possession of the first of 20 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft for intra-Italy flights from the Milan hub, and has 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order — the first will be delivered in Spring 2019 — to operate its long-haul network. Until the Dreamliners are ready, Air Italy is flying Airbus A330 aircraft from Qatar for its long-haul flights.
Besides the new Milan-JFK route, Air Italy is also launching a nonstop flight between Milan and Miami on June 8th. Flights to Bangkok and Mumbai are coming this fall, and two more unspecified long-haul destinations will come later in 2018.
Business Insider writes that Air Italy’s long-haul economy class seats will all be equipped with personal in-flight entertainment screens. Flights will be equipped with Wi-Fi, and all passengers will have access to live satellite TV, including matches during the World Cup this summer, although Italy is not part of it. Economy seats, which are laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration, have a 31″ of pitch, comparable to most full-service long-haul carriers. They’re all equipped with USB charging ports.
Economy class meal service, meanwhile, will feature Italian wines and dishes, with meals like gnocchi and lasagna, and snacks including pizza and focaccia with aubergines.
Business class cabins feature lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. With 78″ of pitch, they can be turned into beds for overnight flights. All business class passengers get amenity kits stocked with comfort products for the flight, as well as a turn-down service with mattress pads for “bed mode,” as well as a more robust catering service throughout the flight.