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Qatar Airways Not Interested in any Further Investment in Italian Aviation Following Collapse of Air Italy

Qatar Airways Not Interested in any Further Investment in Italian Aviation Following Collapse of Air Italy

Qatar Airways has learnt its lesson the hard way, today confirming it is no longer interested in investing in failed Italian airline Air Italy. The new stance from the Doha-based airline that has pursued minority investments in a number of international airlines including LATAM, Cathay Pacific and British Airways owner IAG follows Air Italy’s decision to enter voluntary liquidation earlier this month.

Initially, Qatar Airways said it had “continually reaffirmed its commitment, as a minority shareholder, to continue investing in the business (Air Italy)” and that it was “ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline” with a cash injection or other help.

Confusion Over Air Italy's Schedules Raise Important Questions About the State of the Airline
Photo Credit: Air Italy

“… but this would only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders,” the airline lamented after majority shareholder Alisarda decided to pull the plug on the loss-making carrier.

Now, though, Qatar Airways has not only had a change of heart on its commitment to Air Italy but has also decided it would be better of staying completely clear of Italian aviation altogether.

“Qatar Airways is no longer interested in investing in Air Italy or in any other air transport project in Italy,” the airline said in a statement to Reuters. The Qatari government-owned airline did, however, say it would do all it can to help workers and passengers.

Qatar Airways acquired a 49 per cent stake in what was then known as Meridiana in 2017, going onto relaunch as Air Italy in 2018. In its first year operating as the newly rebranded airline, Air Italy lost €160 million, with those losses more than doubling to €330 million in 2019.

Air Italy will continue to operate some domestic subsidised domestic flights over the next few months on behalf of the Italian government. Perpetually loss-making flag carrier Alitalia continues to search for a buyer while burning through Italian tax-payer loans to keep operating.

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