Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Akbar al-Baker has alluded to refleeting the Gulf carrier's new Sardinian asset, Meridiana fly (IG, Olbia), with B787s, A330s, and B737 MAX jets.

In an interview with Reuters, al-Baker said deliveries of new aircraft would likely take place over the next six months and follow Qatar Airways acquisition of a 49% stake in AQA Holding, the newly created firm which is controlled by the Aga Khan Fund's Alisarda unit and which houses Meridiana fly, its Air Italy (2005) production carrier, and various other MRO and tour operator entities.

According to al-Baker, Qatar Airways will "massively grow" Meridiana to overtake ailing Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) and become Italy's "real national carrier".

Meridiana currently offers passenger flights spanning Italy as well as Western Europe, Russia, the United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West and East Africa, and the Indian Ocean.

Operationally, it employs a fleet of three MD-82s, one MD-83 operated by Meridiana fly as well as three B767-300(ER)s, one B767-200(ER), seven B737-800s, and one B737-700 all of which are operated by Air Italy and which average 21.4 years of age. ch-aviation analysis of Meridiana's schedule data has suggested the McDonnell Douglas fleet is set to be retired at the end of this month. Meridiana declined to comment.