The Italian airline Air Italy was founded on 29th March 1963 as Meridiana in Olbia by Prince Aga Khan, primarily on order to promote tourism on the Costa Smeralda in the north east of Sardinia, as this strip of land had until then only been accessible by boat. The airline was privately financed and began providing regular flights in 1964. The aim was to link Sardinia to major European cities. Only 2 years on the airline was already providing regular services between Milan/Rome and Olbia. The destinations Cagliari, Genoa, Turin, Bologna and Pisa were soon added. As no real competition existed on the Italian market early on, the airline is still the proud market leader on the route from the mainland to Sardinia.
At present the airline provides flights to 31 destinations. The airline serves a large number of Italian and European airports. Regular flights are also provided from Rome to New York. Meridiana’s destinations include Amsterdam, Budapest, Catania, London-Gatwick, Bergamo, Mykonos, Paris, Trapani and Verona.