Air Italy has revealed it will not receive any Boeing 787s but instead maintain a longhaul fleet of exclusively Airbus A330 aircraft.
In an interview with Aviation Analyst, Air Italy’s COO Rossen Dimitrov shared his rationale.
Because of the delay in Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries, we have decided to expand the fleet with Airbus A330s instead. We will add more A330s this year, and next year too.
We want to lease the next A330 jets from Qatar as we would like to maintain the consistency in our product. We don’t want to create confusion in our product, and this aircraft is proving to be perfect for us. We’ll stick with the same cabins, and continue to roll-out our service and cabin upgrades, etc. We’re too small to have a mixed (Airbus and Boeing) fleet, we realised it would be too costly.
Like One Mile at a Time, my understanding was that Air Italy was not a planned recipient of Qatar Airway’s latest 787 order, but would be the recipient of older 787-8s.
But with Air Italy struggling and Qatar Airways taking on more routes (including even a couple wet lease flights for Air Canada this summer due to the ongoing Boeing 737 MAX issue), it is no surprise that Air Italy will stick to its A330 fleet, offering a more consistent product. The business class seat may be angled and not truly lie-flat, but you won’t have to guess what seat you will receive when you fly on Air Italy. More importantly, having only one aircraft type to maintain and staff will inevitably prove more efficient.
Air Italy Defends Qatar Airways
In the same interview, Dimitrov pointed out Air Italy’s cancelled flights plans as proof that it was operating as a business to make money, not lose money.
The accusations are ridiculous; this is nothing but a personal attack on Qatar, and it’s in line with their agenda against Qatar. Air Italy is an independent airline, it’s compliant with all European Union regulation and ownership. Qatar Airways is the minority stakeholder (49%), for them, it’s a pure investment. They do not manage the airline; they do not dictate what we must do. We make our own decisions. If we had bottomless pockets as the US carriers claim, and didn’t care about our budgets because the State of Qatar was funding us — tell me why we did we pull out of India?
It’s more than just India. Bangkok failed. Chicago failed before it even started. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto have become seasonal routes. Air Italy’s ambitious growth plans have not exactly gone according to plan. Dimitrov is certainly correct that his carrier’s actions suggest its pockets are not bottomless.
From a consumer standpoint, the cancellation of 787 plans is disappointing because it would have offered a better business class seat onboard and and a better consumer experience overall. But from a business standpoint, the move makes sense. Hopefully Air Italy has learned the lesson from others that it must growly slowly if it is to sustainably grow.
image: Air Italy