Weekly News 19/02/2018 – 25/02/2018
Meridiana renamed Air Italy by Qatar Airways
The airline Meridiana is now called Air Italy and has a new livery, with the project development of domestic and intercontinental flights mainly from Milan – including a new link to Bangkok in September.
The new brand of the Italian private airline was unveiled on 19 February 2018 during a press conference in Milan attended by Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways who holds 49% of the capital of its parent company AQA Holdings since last autumn. In addition to the new livery, Air Italy will maintain bases at Milan-Malpensa airport, Rome-Fiumicino and Olbia-Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, and reinforce its fleet of 15 Boeing (737-700, seven 737- 800, one 767-200ER and three 767-300ER), it is expected to increase to about 50 aircraft by 2022, including twenty for the long-haul: three of the now awaited twenty 737 MAX 8s are expected to arrive from April, as well as five Airbus A330-200s from the fleet of its Qatari shareholder and which will be replaced by 787 Dreamliner from 2019.
On the network side, Air Italy has announced for September 9 four weekly rotations between Milan and Bangkok, in direct competition with Thai Airways, in addition to those to New York and Miami already announced; three other intercontinental lines will be unveiled by the end of the year, and the capital will have a first LC route in 2019.
Emirates’s A380 in Beyrouth and Lisbon reinforced
On March 29, 2018, the United Arab Emirates airline will operate the first flight of an A380 to Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport, to test the operations and infrastructure needed to accommodate regular superjumbo service. Configured to accommodate 14 passengers in Premiere, 76 in Business Class and 429 in Economy, the A380 will be deployed on the first of three daily rotations, with departure from Dubai at 7:25 to arrive at 10:30 am and return from Lebanon at 2:15 pm to land at 19h05 (flight time 4h10).
At Lisbon-Humberto Delgado airport, Emirates Airlines will reinstate from June 1, 2018 a second daily flight, operated in 777-300ER for 8 passengers in Premiere, 42 in Business class and 310 in Economy. She will then propose departures at 7:25 and 14:25 (new), with arrivals at 12:35 and 19:40 respectively; the return flights will leave Portugal at 2:15 pm and 9:25 pm (arrivals the following day at 1:10 am and 8:05 am). Emirates Airlines remains without direct or indirect competition on this route.
With the choice of two flights per day, travelers will enjoy “seamless and enhanced connectivity through the Emirates hub to the company’s main global network destinations, including Australia, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai , Luanda, Thailand and Johannesburg, “said Emirates Airlines in a statement. Lisbon customers can also access “more than 90 destinations under the Emirates and flydubai partnership, with direct connections to Dubai including flights to and from destinations such as Kathmandu, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Sylhet and Chittagong”.
What a week for Airbus
A ceremony on Tuesday marked the delivery of the first-ever Airbus A350-1000 to Qatar Airways, which put it into service Saturday between Doha and London.
On 20 February 2018, Airbus delivered its first A350-1000 wide-body aircraft, the MSN88 registered A7-ANA, to the Qatar Airways launch customer. This aircraft is the first of 37 A350-1000 aircraft ordered by Qatar’s national airline, and the first ever Airbus equipped with the innovative Qsuite seats, which offer for the first time double beds in Business class. Qatar Airways is the main customer of the A350 XWB family worldwide, with an order book of 76 aircraft including 38 A350-900s (20 delivered), as well as the main customer of the A350-1000.
The airline plans to receive four A350-1000s this year; they are configured to accommodate 46 passengers in Business and 281 in Economy (327 seats), against 36 + 247 in its A350-900 (283 seats). The entry of the A350-1000 into service on a regular line has been performed Saturday, February 24, on the QR15 / QR16 rotation bound for London Heathrow Airport.
On the other hand, the first Airbus A330-900neo, destined for the airline TAP Air Portugal, made its rollout Monday. Its entry into service is still not specified.
Airbus aired on February 19, 2018 an image of its first A330neo emerging from the paint hangar; the aircraft is wearing the livery of TAP Air Portugal and a distinctive logo “A330neo first to fly”. The Portuguese national airline, based at Lisbon-Humberto Delgado airport, is expecting a total of 20 A330-900neo aircraft, six of which will be leased to BOC Aviation and Air Lease Corp. (ALC). Three aircraft are expected to be delivered by the end of next year, with entry into service being announced by management in June or July; the configuration of his cabin Airspace has still not been detailed.
Singapore’s Boeing 787-10 will fly to Perth
Singapore Airlines has chosen Perth as its second long-haul destination after Osaka for its Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, which it is launching.
After Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and therefore Osaka, the Singaporean national airline intends to deploy one of the 49 787-10 ordered on one of four daily rotations between its base in Singapore-Changi and Perth airport from May 2018. The aircraft, configured for 36 passengers in Business Class and 301 in Economy (337 seats in total in what it calls its new regional cabin) and expected next month, will be used on a line now provided by Singapore Airlines in 777-200 or Airbus A330-300 two-class from 285 to 323 seats. It competes with its own long-haul low-cost subsidiary Scoot, Qantas and its low-cost Jetstar (Jetstar Airways Asia will abandon it at the end of March).
The Star Alliance airline recalls in its statement that the 787-10 entry into service to Osaka-Kansai is scheduled for May 3, on the first of two daily rotations, against Scoot again and Jetstar Asia Airways (ANA and Japan Airlines only serve Singapore from both Tokyo airports).