Travelers between Milan and New York City or Miami will have yet another option beginning in June 2018. Meridiana, the Italian airline based in Palermo, is shifting its transatlantic services to add flights as part of a route restructuring. The route changes have been expected since Qatar Airways closed on its 49% ownership stake just a couple months ago.
Meridiana adds new US routes from June 2018 ✈ https://t.co/ixsRGLcy1q
— Airlineroute (@Airlineroute) December 15, 2017
Flights from New York City’s JFK airport will operate daily beginning 1 June 2018. The Miami service will fly 4x weekly. Both routes face competition from existing operators. Miami is served daily by American Airlines while JFK is a very competitive market. Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, American and Emirates all fly the route while United Airlines flies from Newark across town.
Launching service into competitive markets is a risky move, as is investment in an Italian airline. That said, operating from Milan is generally believed to be the strongest of the Italian gateway options. Many questioned Alitalia’s decision to focus on Rome as its long-haul hub during the prior restructuring efforts.
And success of the new Meridiana routes may depend as much on the future of Alitalia as it does on any internal factors. Alitalia’s ongoing restructuring could very well change the competitive landscape for aviation in the region. Or we could end up with more of the same.
The two routes are operating on A330 aircraft that will join the Meridiana fleet from Qatar Airways’ operations. Future fleet growth at the Italian carrier will also come from the existing Qatari order book, notably with 20 Boeing 737 MAX8 planes due in the coming years. Notably, this aircraft utilization allows Qatar Airways to keep flexibility in its order book, particularly as the carrier faces continuing challenges from neighboring GCC countries.
Header image: Meridiana by Anna Zvereva via Flicr/CC-SA 2.0
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