Air Italy, formerly known as Meridiana, has confirmed it will launch flights from Milan to Mombasa, Kenya, from 21 July.
Air Italy isn’t a brand-new airline but is the rebranded version of Italian carrier Meridiana. The airline unveiled an all-new image and corporate identity in February last year, as well as a new name. The new identity was revealed after Qatar Airways bought 49% of Air Italy’s shares.
Air Italy told Inside Travel that the airline’s network currently includes flights to Italy with routes from Milan Malpensa to Accra, Cairo, Dakar and Lagos. “Mombasa is also reconfirmed,” a spokesperson said, adding that flights to Mombasa will launch on 21 July.
At the beginning of June, Air Italy introduced daily flights from Milan to New York and four flights a week from Milan to Miami. From September, the airline will launch four flights weekly from Milan to Bangkok, as well as flights to Mumbai from 30 October. Another three new long-haul routes are expected to be announced by the end of the year. And in 2019, Air Italy will add its first long-haul flights from Rome.
Kenyan travel agents have welcomed Air Italy’s plans to launch flights to Mombasa. Travel In Style’s Devan Jobanputra told Inside Travel that if the flight offers a good connection to the US, it will be a welcome option for Kenyan travellers.
Said Jobanputra: “For travel to the Far East, travellers would still mostly prefer flying direct to Bangkok or using a Middle East carrier due to journey times. Depending on the planned launch date and competitive fares, it might prove favourable for Kenyans travelling to Europe and also for Italians visiting Kenya.”
Patrick Maina Kamanga, MD Deans Travel, says there are numerous Kenyans travelling to Italy for business, leisure and VFR. He warns however that currently the Middle Eastern Airlines, such as Etihad, Qatar and Emirates, are the preferred choice. “The Middle Eastern Airlines (Etihad/Qatar/Emirates) already serve those cities in Italy and are more on demand by the general market,” he says.