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AQA Holding S.p.A

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AQA Holding S.p.A
Società per azioni
Founded 📆September 2, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-09-02) in Olbia, Sassari
Founder 👔
Headquarters 🏙️Centro Direzionale Aeroporto Costa Smeralda,
Olbia, Sassari
Area served 🗺️
Key people
  • Marco Rigotti (Chairman)
  • Qatar Airways Company Q.C.S.C. (49%)
  • Alisarda S.p.A (51%)
Number of employees
  • Air Italy
    • Air Italy Fleet Management
    • Meridiana Maintenance
    • Wokita
🌐 Websiteairitaly.com
📇 Address
📞 telephone

AQA Holding S.p.A is a private Italian airline holding company headquartered in Olbia, Sassari, Italy. The company is recognized for managing Italys second largest airline Meridiana and its subsidiaries, also recognized for reorganizing the airline into Air Italy. The company is owned by Qatar Airways (49%) and Alisardia (51%).


Before the Establishment[edit]

HE Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced they are considering buying a stake in Meridiana back in 2015.[1] But as this plan was still being developed, Meridiana's competitor Alitalia (Italys flag carrier) announced that Etihad Airways purchased 49% stake in the airline in 2014 and pushed the airline to introduce the newly redesign Alitalia Brand in 2015. [2][3]

The Establishment[edit]

Meridiana official logo (1999-2018)

AQA Holdings was founded on 2 September 2017 after Qatar Airwasy complete the acquisition of 49% stake shares into Meridiana and its subsidiaries.[4] The acquisition was the center for attention in the aviation industry news as Meridiana competitor, Alitalia (Italys flag carrier) announced of going into bankruptcy (on 2 May 2017) after its shareholder Etihad Airways pulled the plug on it 49% stake equity plan on readjusting the airline after 80% of Alitalia employees voted against the a new agreement plan on a new structure of Alitalia. [5][6]

Just 2 months after Qatar Airways squired 49% stake in Meridiana the airline announced that they are willing to massively grow the airline to be the future flag carrier of Italy. [7] The Airline is willing to give Meridiana new aircraft to replace Meridiana's current and old wet-leased aircraft, and not only Qatar Airways want to give new aircraft to the airline they are also willing to rebrand the airline to be called Air Italy. [8][9] The plan focused on merging the airline subsidiaries Air Italy (which was part of Meridiana Brand since 2013, but commenced operation in 2005) in to Meridiana and reorganized the company from scratch to form the new Air Italy. The new Air Italy was planned to be using Meridiana Air operator's certificate (AOC) and also its Airline Codes (IATA: IG/ICAO: ISS) and cease the original Air Italy entire operation.

Ciao Meridiana, Hello Air Italy[edit]

Air Italy Logo (2018-present)

Just 6 months after Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced he is willing to rebranded Meridiana into Air Italy, on 28 February 2018 Meridiana announced to rebranded the company as Air Italy at a press conference in Milan, Italy with precedence of Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and also.[10] The focus of the company was to introduce a new Italian airline which would be stable to be the future flagship carrier of Italy. The plan also introduce a new brand image, new cabin experience, new airport lounge, new destinations, new opportunity for the customers and new Boeing Aircraft will be developed for the new airline. During the press conference the airline have experienced some interest on joining Oneworld.[11] Also announcing that Qatar Airways will have a Codeshare agreement with the airline.[12]

The Airline commenced operations on 01 March 2018.[13] The airline expand quickly as new aircraft, new routes, and new chief officers joined Air Italy threw out the first year of operation. The airline attended the 2018 Farnborough Airshow showcasing its 2nd 737 MAX 8, making it the first time Air Italy attended the airshow. [14]

Corporate Affairs[edit]


The company's shareholder structure as of 18 February 2018 is fallowed...[15]

Shareholder Percentage
Italy Alisarda S.p.A 51%
Qatar Qatar Airways Q.C.S.C 49%

Board of Directors[edit]

Members of the Board of Directors for AQA Holding are...[16]

  • Marco Rigotti (Chairman)
  • Sultan Ali Allana
  • Corinne Fournot
  • Daniel Ho
  • Giles Agutter

Fleet Ownership[edit]

Meridiana Boeing 767-300ER (Registered:EI-FMR)
Air Italy Boeing 737 MAX 8 (Registered: EI-GFY)

Air Italy currently uses leased Boeing Aircraft. 15 aircraft are currently in operation. 10 of Air Italy's Boeing 737 Next Generation and Boeing 767 aircraft are currently operational and handed over by Meridiana. 5 Airbus A330-200 aircraft are currently sub-leased from Qatar Airways will be in operation from 2018 until 2019. 50 new Boeing aircraft (20 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 30 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner) will be sub-leased from Qatar Airways, currently developing the airline.


  1. "Qatar Airways Wants To Invest In WHICH Airline?! - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  2. "Alitalia To Install New Business Class Seats And Wifi - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  3. "Alitalia Announces New Business Class, New Routes, And More - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  4. "Completion Of The Meridiana Agreement By Qatar Airways And Alisarda". Qatar Airways Press Office. 1 October 2017.
  5. "Alitalia Employees Vote On Liquidation Over Pay Cuts & Layoffs - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  6. Habboush, Mahmoud (30 April 2018). "Etihad Won't Be Reduced to 'Boutique' Airline Status, CEO Says". Bloomberg.
  7. "Qatar Airways CEO: Meridiana To Rebrand As Air Italy - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  8. "Qatar Airways CEO: Meridiana To Rebrand As Air Italy - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  9. "Meridiana to become Air Italy, new 'flag carrier of Italy': Qatar Airways CEO | CAPA". centreforaviation.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  10. "Air Italy Plans Crazy Expansion, Including Leasing 30 Boeing 787s - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  11. "Will Air Italy Join Oneworld? - One Mile at a Time". One Mile at a Time. 2018-02-24. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  12. "Air Italy expands as UAE-backed Alitalia goes bankrupt". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  15. "Alisarda Group". www.airitaly.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  16. "Meridiana, Qatar Airways rileva il 49%. Perfezionata l'operazione". Repubblica.it (in italiano). 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2018-08-13.

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