Air Italy is flying high. Representatives from the airline were in Toronto yesterday (May 7) to celebrate the launch of new seasonal non-stop flights between Toronto and Milan — marking its first Canadian route.
“Bringing our A330 to Toronto was absolutely outstanding, it was almost unreal coming home and bringing our baby back,” said Air Italy’s Chief Operating Officer Rossen Dimitrov, who has roots in Canada. “It’s been something that we have worked on for such a long time and finally being able to bring the aircraft to Toronto Pearson was outstanding for us.”
The new route, which is the airline’s fifth new North American destination, will operate six times weekly (daily except Thursday) until October 25 between YYZ and its hub in Milan Malpensa. Service will then resume next summer, when Dimitrov told PressToday they, “will evaluate at that time the opportunity to continue year-round.”
Service on the new route is on Air Italy’s Airbus A330-200, with 24 flatbed seats in Business Class and 228 seats in Economy. Air Italy connects to 21 destinations through Milan and Olbia, 12 of which launched in the first 10 months of 2018.
“Air Italy connects seamlessly with seven key Italian cities (Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Olbia and Cagliari) from its Milan Malpensa hub, which are all top destinations for summer tourism thanks to wonderful locations such as Capri and Sorrento, Taormina and the Greek Temples in Agrigento, the white beaches of Sardinia and the amazing landscape of Calabria,” he said.
Air Italy also has seven codeshare partners like British Airways and Qatar Airways.
In order to gain more awareness in the Canadian market, Dimitrov told PressToday the airline will be adding a sales presence in Canada.
“We need to have a representation dedicated to Canada, focused on the Canadian market. You need to take care of the travel agents too. So we need to have someone dedicated and paying attention to the travel trade here,” he said. “We’re the new kid on the block here in Canada, we would like people to get to know us better and we need the trade to help us. So we need more awareness from the trade.”
He said the new route was added based on demand, with generations of Italians living in Canada. Along with visitings friends and relatives in both destinations, he said there’s opportunity to grow
tourism on both sides from Canada to Italy and from Italy to Canada.
“Explore Italy, come visit us in Italy,” he said. “Let’s also bring Italians to Canada. It’s very key for me to bring people to our country to visit the country, to see the beauty of our people and of our country.”
This year, Air Italy will also be a major sponsor of Pride Toronto, as well as Pride Milan and Pride Sofia in Bulgaria. Dimitrov said the airline is very proud of its sponsorship in Bulgaria as the LGBTQ community doesn’t yet have the same rights, equality laws and freedom as in Canada and Italy.
“We would like to support people, not only celebrating freedom and equality, but also helping those who still need to fight for their rights,” he said.
Overall, Dimitrov said the airline has a simple ambition: to be different, and it comes down to the staff, the product, the service and standing out from the crowd as a brand.
“There are so many airlines now around the world, a lot of them deliver mediocre service. They take you safely from point a to point b but we wanted to create something different. Obviously safety is a priority for us but at the same time we wanted customers to experience the different type of air travel by focusing on the customer, and creating an extraordinary experience,” he said.
Stay tuned for more in the next edition of Travel Courier.
Pictured at Air Italy’s route launch event in Toronto are:
- Air Italy’s COO Rossen Dimitrov
- Dimitrov is joined by Pam Ann, the alter-ego of Australian comedian Caroline Reid, who is featured in the airline’s humourous marketing campaign, along with Air Italy crew members Elia and Roberta.
- Greetings from Pam Ann. Dimitrov said the latest video featuring the personality is just the beginning of what’s to come with the partnership.