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Sorry to lump two fairly unrelated air stories together here – but both caught our eye this morning. Alitalia has stared to unveil its new long haul services, no doubt meaning that cargo competition out of Malpensa is on its way to becoming quite heated. Its first routes are to Seoul, from Rome, and to Shanghai and Beijing from Milan. More are expected in the revitalisation plan agreed, no doubt, with new shareholder Etihad.

Talking of Etihad (there’s the link) – the US/Middle East airlines war of words just got worse. Delta’s Richard Anderson provocatively linked the 9/11 terrorist attacks with the Gulf carriers, saying that there was an “irony” about the provenance of the terrorists and the complaints about ensuing subsidies from rival, ‘subsidised’ airlines.  It’s a weird link, to be sure. But Qatar’s Akbar Al Baker, among others, was quick to retort, asking whether Delta had “forgotten that in 2001 the US government contributed nearly $5bn in aid to the airlines and an additional $10bn in loan guarantees. What is this called? Is it called a donation or is it called a subsidy?” A fair point.

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