Air Italy will become the new brand for Meridiana, Italy’s legacy carrier that currently competes with Alitalia. 49% owned by Qatar Airways, the airline has announced an extensive growth plan and inject of new aircraft including 5 A330 aircraft from Qatar Airways.
The images at the launch show off fully-flat beds, a 31″ seat pitch in economy (labelled ‘generous’ although that might be artistic licence) and a full-service offering. Joining the fleet will be 787s and 737Max aircraft too.
The new look, in aqua and maroon, as well as new name are both potentially strategic. With Alitalia’s future still in question, and the need for a country to have a national carrier, the new name Air Italy positions itself front and centre as a potential national brand. It also helps create brand confusion in the market place, with a similar named competitor, it is easy to step on the heels of the much longer running brand.
Air Italy isn’t exactly new either, it’s existed in the past as a subsidiary of Meridiana, and first started flying back in 2005. But the previous livery was very similar to that of Alitalia at the time. The new livery, in aqua and maroon, isn’t the most Italian of looking colour schemes, potentially the reason for this is to act as a point of difference between Alitalia and Air Italy, but the addition of maroon is most likely heavily influenced by Qatar Airways.
The first A330s from Qatar Airways will have the same hard product in the maroon fabrics as Qatar Airways, so potentially the most cost effective way of branding the airline is reverse engineered, literally matching the curtains to the drapes.
The livery also has positioned the logotype Air Italy in a challenging spot. By creating such a large and broad typeface, the negative spaces of the letters are disrupted by the windows on the 737, making it harder and less legible to read. The “Y” graphic on the tail is certainly unique, and eye catching, however, repeating graphics and patterns are usually adopted by low cost and metro carriers (Vueling / Porter / Volotea etc) so it will be interesting to see how this brand materialises across the rest of the customer experience touch-points.
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