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Another Airline Enters the Canada / Europe Market

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Determination No. A-2018-234

November 7, 2018

APPLICATION by Air Italy S.p.A. carrying on business as Air Italy (applicant) pursuant to subsection 69(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended (CTA).

Case number: 

The applicant has applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) for a licence to operate scheduled international services in accordance with the Agreement on Air Transport between Canada and the European Community and its Member States, signed on December 18, 2009 (Agreement).

The Agency is satisfied that the applicant meets all the applicable requirements of subsection 69(1) of the CTA. The Agency also finds that the pertinent terms and conditions of the Agreement have been complied with.

Accordingly, the Agency issues the licence.

Pursuant to subsection 71(1) of the CTA, the licence is subject to the conditions prescribed by the Air Transportation Regulations, SOR/88-58, as amended, and the following conditions:

  1. Subject to the availability of rights as set out in Annex 2 of the Agreement, the Licensee is authorized to operate scheduled international services on the route set out in the Agreement.
  2. The scheduled international services are to be conducted in accordance with the Agreement and any applicable arrangements agreed to between the European Community and its Member States and Canada.

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The Italian airline Meridiana is no more. Starting today, the carrier that’s probably best known for its flights to Sardinia is now called Air Italy. As part of the rebrand, its planes will get a fresh new look with teal-and-purple graphic elements on the tail and clean, all-caps type on the side of planes.

If that shade of purple looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Qatar Airways jets. The Gulf airline now owns 49 percent of Air Italy—newly acquired in 2017—and has been instrumental in revamping Meridiana. It's invested cash—at least "millions" of dollars, according to one report—and planes: Air Italy will acquire at least 20 new jets over the next three years, the airline says, plus at least five wide-body jets from the Qatar Airways fleet. That’s important because Air Italy has big ambitions to become a major rival to Alitalia.

“Air Italy has an ambition to reach a goal of transporting 10 million passengers per year by 2022 traveling to, from, and via Italy,” Meridiana Chairman Francesco Violante said in a statement. “We expect more than 8 million of these to use Milan Malpensa airport.” Air Italy plans to start flying from Milan to both Miami and New York by this June. They’ll also add additional flights from Milan to Catania, Naples, Palermo, and Rome—plus the small Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme—this year, making the carrier a convenient alternative to train travel within Italy. While Air Italy hasn’t announced any details on cabin amenities, ticket prices will be “affordable,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a statement. And more flight deals to Italy sounds just fine to us.

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