Mumbai: Air Italy, the second largest Italian carrier, Friday commenced its services to Milan from Mumbai. The 252-seater A330-200 plane with 210 passengers on board departed from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in the early hours. Mumbai became the second destination for the European carrier in India after the launch of flight services to New Delhi from Milan last week.

"We are delighted to welcome Mumbai to our global network. The launch of our India-Italy sector represents another major step forward for Air Italy and reinforces our commitment to the network expansion plans in Asia," said Rossen Dimitrov, Chief Operating Officer, Air Italy.

"We have already seen significant bookings and are delighted by the take up on both of our new routes to India," he said. The flights on the Mumbai-Milan route will be operated three times a week and provide onward connections to New York and Miami besides connecting domestic destinations, such as Rome, Catania, Palermo, Naples and Lamezia Terme, the airline said.

Air Italy, earlier known as Meridiana, is 49 per cent owned by the Persian Gulf carrier Qatar Airways. It started operations in March this year. Italy is the second most popular European destination for Indians travelling to Europe in terms of tourism, and this route has been a long-standing request from local authorities, leisure travellers and various trade organisations, the company said.

The Olbia-headquartered private carrier currently has 15 aircraft in the fleet comprising Boeing 737 Max, B737NG, B767-300 and Airbus A330. It plans to increase the fleet size to 50 planes by 2022.