name to Air Italy
Qatar backed Italian airline Meridiana changed its name to Air Italy with the goal of becoming Italy’s flagship carrier as UAE-backed (Etihad) part owner of Alitalia, continues to try to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings.
Meridiana was put under new ownership last year after Qatar Airways bought a 49 percent stake in AQA Holding, with the previous owner Alisarda retaining 51 percent.
Air Italy is now the country’s second-largest airline behind Alitalia, which was mainly backed by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. But the interest in further investment in Alitalia has diminished due to the financial struggles Etihad faces with other airline ventures.
It seem clear that the move by Qatar to rebrand Meridiana, with a name with the similarity Air Italy to Alitalia, is to take aim to become Italy’s “airline of reference”, said Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar al-Baker. Ironically there was talk of a Meridiana Fly and Alitalia merger but it never happened so Air Italy was born.
As part of its growth plan ,Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar and one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, has added many new routes to its network within the last year continuing its rapid expansion throughout 2018.
All this change and rebranding is being quickly done as Alitalia patiently waits for the election on March 4th. Earlier this month, Italian Minister Carlo Calenda said that the situation regarding Alitalia will not be resolved before Italy’s general election on March 4. Chances of a nationalization of the airline were discussed and rejected in the recent past.
A brief history of the Air Italy lineage: Meridiana (S.p.A.) was begun in 1963 as Alisarda by Aga Khan Prince Karīm al-Hussayn. In 1991 the name changed to Meridiana (S.p,A). In 2006, Meridiana acquired a fair share of Eurofly. In 2010, Meridiana and Eurofly became Meridiana Fly. In 2011, Meridiana Fly acquired Air Italy, an Italian charter company, which became a subsidiary of Meridiana Fly. In 2013-Meridiana acquired all shares of Meridiana Fly.
And after Air Italy merger was complete, Meridiana Fly became Meridian. In 2017, Qatar bought 49% of AQA Holdings. (AQA is an Italian airline holding company which is owned Qatar Airways(49% stake) and Alisarda S.p.A (51% stake).). On 7 November 2017 it was announced that Qatar Airways would be rebranding the company as Air Italy effectively merging with the current Meridiana subsidiary. In February 2018, Meridiana rebranded as HYPERLINK “en.wikip