Qatar Air to Add Italy Flights Following Etihad’s Alitalia Stake

Qatar Airways will boost capacity to three Italian cities by 30 percent over the next five months with wide-body aircraft, intensifying competition with local Gulf rivals who are also jostling for a larger slice of the market.

Qatar Air will increase service to Rome with a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner that replaces an Airbus Group NV A320s starting March 29, it said in an e-mailed statement. It will begin flying the Airbus A330 to Milan on March 29 and Venice on June 16, which were previously served by smaller A320s.

The Gulf carriers are vying for a larger share of the Italian market to drive traffic on to long-haul routes. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC has acquired a 49 percent stake of ailing national carrier Alitalia, while Dubai’s Emirates airlines operates a Milan-New York route and introduced an A380 super-jumbo service to Milan last year.

Doha-based Qatar Air currently has 35 flights a week to Italy, including double-daily services to Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, as well as daily flights to Venice Marco Polo. Alitalia said this week that Rome, Milan, Venice Catania and Bologna will have direct services to Abu Dhabi, the hub of Etihad Airways.

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