The Italian airline Meridiana is no more. Starting today, the carrier that’s probably best known for its flights to Sardinia is now called Air Italy. As part of the rebrand, its planes will get a fresh new look with teal-and-purple graphic elements on the tail and clean, all-caps type on the side of planes.
If that shade of purple looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Qatar Airways jets. The Gulf airline now owns 49 percent of Air Italy—newly acquired in 2017—and has been instrumental in revamping Meridiana. It’s invested cash—at least “millions” of dollars, according to one report—and planes: Air Italy will acquire at least 20 new jets over the next three years, the airline says, plus at least five wide-body jets from the Qatar Airways fleet. That’s important because Air Italy has big ambitions to become a major rival to Alitalia.
Mark your Calendar: March 29th 2018
For the first time in Rafic Al Hariri International Airport’s history, Emirates will operate a special one-off A380 service to Beirut on 29 March. The airline’s flagship double-decker will become the first-ever scheduled A380 service to Beirut, and Emirates is working with the airport to test the operations and necessary infrastructure to accommodate an A380 service.
The Emirates A380 service will operate as EK 957 and EK 958, departing Dubai at 0725hrs and arriving in Beirut at 1030hrs. The flight will depart Beirut at 1415hrs arriving in Dubai at 1905hrs on the same day.
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre said: “We are proud to fly our A380 for a one-off test service to Beirut, which continues to be an important destination for us in the region. Bringing this popular aircraft to Lebanon represents a significant milestone in our operations to Beirut after 27 years of serving the country. This year also marks the Emirates A380’s 10th anniversary since joining our fleet, and the iconic aircraft has brought flying to the next level for over 90 million customers. The upcoming service next month will give travellers the chance to experience this revolutionary aircraft and the best service in the sky.
Emirates currently has 101 A380s in service and 61 pending delivery, more than any airline globally. The airline also recently announced a US$ 16 billion (AED 58.7 billion) deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft. Emirates currently operates the A380 to 48 global destinations.
Today is Chinese New Year and marks the start of the Year of the Dog – one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac.
Unlike Western astrology, each sign lasts for a whole year and each year takes the name of an animal whose characteristics colour and influence everything that happens for the next 12 months.
This is the Year Of The Dog, signalling a fortunate 12 months ahead for most of those born in the ‘dog’ years of 1935, 1947, 1959, Jan 1971, 1982, 1994 and 2006. It also influences the fortunes of the other 11 animal signs, depending on their relationship with the dog.