Qatar Airways to acquire 49% of Italy’s Meridiana

Qatar Airways has struck an agreement to buy a 49 percent stake in Italy’s Meridiana fly, the Gulf carrier said Thursday.

Qatar’s flagship airline said in a statement that the deal signed with Meridiana’s parent company, Alisarda, would be effective from October “subject to certain conditions,” without specifying what they were or naming a price.

The agreement is considered a last chance for Italy’s second-largest carrier, which has been plagued by financial losses and was forced to announce at the end of June that it was cutting a quarter of its workforce.

The deal was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Meridiana, which connects Italy’s main airports to Sardinia as well as offering flights to destinations in Europe, the US and Africa, was placed under a government-sponsored restructuring plan after it flagged under the strain of “low-cost” competitors.

Negotiations with Qatar Airways had been going on for months.

Talks with trade unions resulted in a deal by which they agreed to accept the loss of 500 jobs, including 400 to be cut immediately.

But after striking the deal the company noted an unusually high number of employees were suddenly taking time off sick.


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