7 JANUARY 2019
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More US destinations and a first foray into Canada have been announced by Air Italy in the teeth of protests from US carriers over alleged unfair subsidisation by Qatar Airways, which owns 49% of the Italian company.
Just one day after Air Italy, known formerly as Meridiana, said it was launching non-stop flights linking Milan with Los Angeles and San Francisco, the carrier added services between Milan, Chicago O'Hare and Toronto, beginning in May.
The developments reflect the rapid growth at Air Italy since the Qatar Airways investment, adding the North America services and expanding to many areas in Asia.
The latest route announcements come amid protests from US network airlines unhappy with the Air Italy – Qatar Airways relationship. United, American and Delta have all accused Qatar of using Air Italy to forge indirect links from Doha.
The US Partnership for Open and Fair Skies accused the Qatari government of “a stunning lack of respect” for the US, adding that the Qatari government had promised not to launch fifth-freedom flights to the US but was dodging its pledge by exploiting its investment in Air Italy.
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