Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) has announced it has finalized its acquisition of a minority stake in the newly formed parent company containing Italian carrier Meridiana fly and its Air Italy (2005) production unit.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar Airways now controls 49% of AQA Holding with Alisarda, Meridiana's parent firm, retaining a 51% stake. Alisarda contributed the entire outstanding share capital of Meridiana fly S.p.A. which owns Air Italy Holding S.r.l. and Air Italy S.p.A. (a production carrier which wet-leases its aircraft to Meridiana), Wokita s.r.l. (a tour operator), and Meridiana Maintenance S.p.A. (Meridiana's aircraft MRO provider). Alisarda is itself owned by the Aga Khan Foundation.

Earlier this year, Italian media reports stated the Aga Khan Foundation would contribute EUR40.75 million euro (USD43.195 million) of AQA Holding's share capital with Qatar Airways contributing the remainder EUR39.2 million (USD41.552 million).

In a joint statement, the two airlines said that with the deal's completion, the board of AQA Holding and Meridiana shareholders’ appointed Alisarda’s chairman, Marco Rigotti, to the chairmanship of AQA Holding while Francesco Violante is the new Chairman of Meridiana. AQA Holdings' other board members include Sultan Ali Allana, Corinne Fournot, Daniel Ho, and Giles Agutter while for Meridiana, they include Corinne Fournot, Daniel Ho and Giles Agutter. In the interim, while a new Meridiana CEO is finalized, Marco Rigotti will retain his executive powers as deputy chairman.

It is recalled that under the terms of the Contribution and Shareholders’ Agreement signed in July 2016, Alisarda maintains the right to appoint the majority of board members.

As it stands, Meridiana is expected to announce a new business plan in the coming weeks. Among the details is an eagerly awaited refleeting model aimed at revamping the Sardinian carrier's aging fleet of three MD-82s, one MD-83, three B767-300(ER)s, one B767-200(ER), seven B737-800s, and one B737-700.