Qatar Airways to hold 49% of Meridiana says Ceo

Rigotti, we want a deal with unions by march

18 February, 17:27

    Meridiana and Qatar Airways' logos Meridiana and Qatar Airways' logos

    (ANSA) - Rome, February 18 - A plan to relaunch Sardinian airline Meridiana involves a new holding company with "Qatar Airways...entering with a capital increase reaching 49%...while the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) would retain control with 51%," Meridiana chairman Marco Rigotti said Thursday on his way out of a meeting at the industry ministry.

    The Olbia-based private airline was founded by business magnate Aga Khan.

    Rigotti said the private airline wants to hammer out a deal with unions on a planned partnership with Qatar Airways "by March". Temporary layoff benefits for Meridiana workers end in April and June, he said. "This is a great opportunity...let's hope we won't miss out on it. The opportunity to seize it is also up to unions," Rigotti said on his way out of a meeting at the industry ministry. "We must thank the government". Industry Minister Federica Guidi said earlier in a ministry statement that "the Qatar option is the only one that can guarantee the relaunch and consolidation of Meridiana". Meridiana's plan to tie up with Qatar Airways envisages 900 redundancies as an initial negotiating platform, trade union sources said Thursday. At ongoing talks at the industry ministry Meridiana asked the unions for a deal on redundancies and a new contract, they said. Earlier this month Meridiana signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Qatar Airways that "states the conditions under which the partnership is subordinated," the airline's holding company Alisarda said. It said the two sides were "working on a potential partnership project regarding the Meridiana airline company". The operation, if it satisfies a set of criteria, will be completed "by the first half of 2016," the group said. (ANSAmed).

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