Qatar Airways buys 49pc of Meridiana while Alisarda keeps its 51pc

QATAR Airways has bought a 49 per cent share of AQA Holding, the parent of Meridiana, Italy's second largest carrier, but Alisarda retains its 51 per cent, reported London's Air Cargo News.

Qatar Airways said the move would strengthen its presence in Italy where it currently flies from Doha to Rome, Venice, Pisa and Milan 42 times per week.

Meridiana's fleet consists of Boeing 737s, 767s and MD-82s. It offers bellyhold capacity on its flights, hubbed on Milan Malpensa Airport with sales handled by World Cargo Solutions.

"This will help increase Meridiana's competitiveness in the European market," said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

"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," he said.

Former SITA chief executive Francesco Violante has been appointed chairman of Meridiana and a new chief executive will be appointed later.

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