Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker hosted a press briefing with national and regional Italian media during his recent visit to Tuscany. Celebrating the launch of the airline’s flights to Pisa in August 2016, the press briefing was also attended by His Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Ahmed Al Malki Al Jehani, Qatar’s Ambassador to Italy.
During the press briefing, H.E. Mr. Al Baker gave the national and regional media an update on the airline’s expansion plans in Italy as well as the latest news on its negotiations to purchase a 49 per cent stake in Meridiana Fly.
H.E. Mr. Al Baker said: “Italy is an incredibly important destination in our network and we will keep investing in new routes and increased services in this market. Once the runway extension at Florence Airport is complete, we fully intend to start a service to this historic city, which is so important to tourism in the region. We are also committed to upgrading the aircraft type currently flying to Pisa from an A320 to a wide body model as soon as we receive more aircraft in our fleet.”
An update on the status of Qatar Airways’ negotiations with Meridiana Fly, for a 49 per cent stake in the Italian airline, was also provided by H.E. Mr. Al Baker: “We are hoping to have our discussions concluded by the end of January. During this period Meridiana Fly also has to deliver certain conditions and achieve certain targets in its performance. We want Meridiana Fly to be a very strong national carrier with a robust international network, creating jobs for the young people of Italy.”
The airline now offers six daily frequencies to Italy: two to Milan and Rome and one each to Venice and Pisa. The new daily flight to Pisa has increased the airline’s weekly flights from Doha to Italy from 35 to 42.
The new gateway connects travellers from Tuscany to the Qatar Airways network, through its state-of-the-art hub in Doha, to more than 150 business and leisure destinations including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore , Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.