Olbia - On May 11, Air Italy, formerly Meridiana, took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8.

The aircraft was configured to accommodate 189 passengers in a single-class layout. It is scheduled to launch its first commercial flight on May 16. The new MAX 8 will carry out various domestic flights before starting international flights to Cairo on July 1st, Catania on July 2nd, Moscow-Domodedovo on July 3, and Sharm el-Sheikh on October 26.

Air Italy is expecting two more Boeing 737 MAX 8 this year, and the remaining 17 in 2019 and 2020.

Air Italy (formerly Meridiana) aims to develop its national and international network rapidly. New international routes are on the way. The first will be Milan- Bangkok from next September.

This expansion has become possible thanks to the A330-200s provided by its new shareholder Qatar Airways (one already delivered and four more to come). Qatar Airways owns the 49% of the company. The A330-200s of the Qatari shareholder will then be replaced by Dreamliners.

As of today, Italian low-cost has 13 aircraft in its fleet (eight 737NG, one 737 MAX 8, one A330-200, and three 767-300ER). This number is expected to increase to about 50 aircraft by 2022.