Qatar Airways has further strengthened its commitment to Italy with the acquisition of 49 per cent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Meridiana fly (Meridiana), while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda has kept 51%.
Qatar Airways currently flies from Doha to Rome, Venice, Pisa and Milan a total of 42 times per week and this partnership would further strengthen the airline’s ties to Italy, while promoting job creation within the country, and from where it connects passengers to more than 150 destinations around the world.
A statement by spokesman of the airline, Mr. Mohamed Ghasan Yousef Elkahlout said that the management of the airline expressed delight at acquisition.
The statement quoted Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways, Mr. Akbar Al Baker as saying that: “We are delighted to formalise this important partnership, which will help increase Meridiana’s competitiveness in the European market.
“We look forward to working together to reinforce its position to provide even more connectivity to Italy and other European destinations, as well as those in the US and beyond.”
Under the terms of the contribution and shareholders’ agreement signed in July 2016, Alisarda maintains the right to appoint the majority of the Board members.
Following the closing, the shareholders’ meetings of AQA Holding and Meridiana appointed, recently the new board of directors. Alisarda’s Chairman Marco Rigotti has been appointed Chairman of AQA Holding while Francesco Violante is the new Chairman of Meridiana.
Violante has previously been the Chief Executive Officer of SITA until end of June 2016, leaving in at the end October after a very successful 13 years.
In due course, the new plan for Meridiana, the statement said would be announced and the new Chief Executive Officer would be appointed in the coming weeks.
The statement however said that Rigotti would retain the executive powers as deputy chairman.
Meridiana is the second largest Italian carrier, with an extensive network, which connects the main Italian airports with Sardinia and provides connectivity with hubs in Europe, as well as in the U.S. and Africa. Meridiana’s fleet consists of Boeing 737s, 767s and MD-82s.