Air Italy on Saturday unveiled its long-awaited first Boeing 737 Max in “striking new livery” at the Boeing Everett Delivery Centre in Seattle, in front of dignitaries and guests, including Prince Rahim Aga Khan.
The aircraft, the first of approximately 50 new aircraft to be added to the Air Italy fleet by 2022, is the first of 20 brand new Boeing 737 Max aircraft that will join the airline over the next three years.
During a press conference held prior to the delivery ceremony, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar al-Baker; Marco Rigotti, chairman of Alisarda and AQA Holding; Sultan Allana of Alisarda and AKFED; and Francesco Violante, chairman, Air Italy, spoke of Air Italy’s future focus on the passenger experience as it strives to become Italy’s first carrier of choice.
Al-Baker commented: “I am delighted to be at the Boeing Everett Delivery Centre today in Seattle to mark yet another landmark event, the delivery of Air Italy’s first new Boeing 737 Max aircraft in striking new livery, first presented in Milan in February this year. To see the aircraft here for the first time, it truly brings to life the next exciting chapter for Italy’s future carrier of choice, providing the people of Italy with the sophisticated travel experience that they deserve.”
Al-Baker addressing a press conference in Seattle.
Rigotti said, “This first Boeing B737 Max will offer our customers a journey in true Italian style. While seated in this comfortable and stylish aircraft, flying from Milan onwards to our domestic network of popular destinations such as Taormina in Sicily, the Emerald Coast in Sardinia, Rome, Sorrento and Capri or the pristine landscape in Calabria, we want our passengers to sense the beauty of Italy and warm welcome they will receive upon landing.”
Violante said, “I would like to extend my thanks to Boeing and all of those involved in this, the production of our very first Boeing 737 Max in the Air Italy livery. Since we first announced the striking new design at a press conference in Milan in February this year, there has been much anticipation for this moment. We look forward to taking to the skies and bringing this aircraft to Italy for the first time.”
Boeing Company senior vice president (Commercial Sales & Marketing) Ihssane Mounir, added, “It is an exciting time to fly with Air Italy as it brings new levels of innovation, performance and comfort to the Italian aviation market. We are honoured that Air Italy and Qatar Airways have placed their trust in Boeing and the 737 MAX to help them achieve their bold and visionary goals.”
The new Boeing 737 Max aircraft features modern and spacious cabins, superior operating economics and greater fuel efficiency. The aircraft will also feature business class cabins and will replace Air Italy’s existing Boeing 737NGs.
Air Italy will also receive five Airbus A330-200 aircraft this year from the Qatar Airways’ fleet, prior to these being further replaced by Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qatar Airways previously strengthened its commitment to Air Italy in 2017 with the acquisition of 49% of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Air Italy, while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda kept 51%.
Network destinations will also enjoy continued expansion, with new long-range routes from Milan to New York, Miami, Bangkok and Mumbai already announced.
Air Italy this month also inaugurated short-haul routes connecting Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo and Olbia. Additional routes from Milan to the Sicilian east coast city of Catania and Lamezia Terme in Calabria will commence on July 1 and September 1 respectively.
Further plans also include strengthening the short-range network to improve connectivity and launching the first long-range destination from Rome Fiumicino in 2019. Air Italy aims to fly more than 50 year-round routes by 2022.