Qatar Airways enters in Meridiana: Greenlight by the European Commission

The European Commission (EC) has approved under the “EU Merger Regulation” the acquisition of joint control over Meridiana fly S.p.A. of Italy (IG, Olbia), by Qatar Airways of Qatar (QR, Doha Hamad Int’l) and Alisarda of Italy (owned by the “Aga Khan Foundation“). Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar Airways – by April – will control 49% of a newly formed holding company (“HoldCo“) in which Alisarda, Meridiana’s parent firm, will have a 51% stake.

Meridiana fly S.p.A. owns “Air Italy Holding S.r.l“. and “Air Italy S.p.A.” (a production carrier which leases its aircraft to  Meridiana), “Wokita s.r.l.” (a tour operator), and “Meridiana Maintenance S.p.A.” (Meridiana’s aircraft MRO provider).

Alisarda, the first Sardinian air company:

Alisarda was founded in March 1963 by the Prince Aga Khan and – based at the Olbia Costa Smeralda airport – it’s the first Sardinian air company. Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV is described by Forbes as one of the world’s ten richest royals and he founded Alisarda to bring people to his brand new “Emerald Coast“, the luxury resort he built since 1961 in north est Sardinia. By the way the Emeral Coast has been bought by “Qatar Holding” five years ago. Even the “Qatar Foundation Endowment” is operating in Sardinia where it’s building the Mater Olbia hospital.

In 1991 Alisarda and the Spanish airline Universair joined together to form Meridiana.

Meridiana airline today:

Meridiana is an airline that operates scheduled and charter passenger services and cargo services to destinations in Europe and Northern Africa and some destinations in the Americas and Asia. The activities of Meridiana and Qatar Airways overlap in a number of routes where at least one of the two parties flies indirectly (with a stopover) and the other directly or indirectly, mainly out of Milan and Rome.

That’s why the European Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition does not raise competition concerns because the overlap in routes is either very limited or has low traffic density. the letter said.

Why Qatar airways is so important for Meridiana?

This way Meridiana becomes part of one of the hugest and more efficent air companies in the world. Actually Qatar Airways operates a hub-and-spoke network, linking over 150 international destinations across the whole world, using a fleet of more than 180 aircraft.

Thanks to this deal, flights and destinations linked to Sardinia are expected to grow significantly up in the next years.

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