The first of the twenty Boeing 737 MAX 8s ordered by Air Italy was delivered to its base of Milan-Malpensa airport (MXP) on May 12, 2018. The delivery marks the beginning of the company’s fleet modernization and expansion.

Configured for 189 passengers in one class, this first plane will start its operation on May 16, 2018. Two more B737 MAX 8s are expected for 2018, and the 17 others should join the company within the next three years. They will replace the five B737NG currently operating in the company, and will initially be used for domestic routes.

Air Italy also ordered 30 B787 Dreamliners for its long-haul operations. Until their delivery starts in May 2019, five Qatar Airways’ Airbus A330-200s will replace them.

The 50 new planes are part of a fleet expansion plan that was started by the Qatari company, after it acquired 49% in Meridiana in October 2017, of which Air Italy was a subsidiary at the time. The two Italian brands were since merged in February 2018, under the name Air Italy. Taking advantage of Alitalia's decline, Qatar Airways expects to turn Air Italy into the country's largest international carrier with intentions to become the new flag carrier.

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On February 19, 2018, the Italian airline Meridiana merged with its subsidiary Air Italy, taking up a new name, a new hub and a new ambitious strategy. Under its new owners, the airline will seek to grow its fleet and passenger numbers fourfold by 2022, having a goal to replace Alitalia and become the country’s national carrier.