Air Italy goes into liquidation despite Qatar Airways expression of support

Air Italy goes into liquidation despite Qatar Airways expression of support

Embattled European carrier Air Italy has gone into liquidation despite major shareholder Qatar Airways (49%) publicly expressing its commitment to continue supporting the airline.

Air Italy was founded by the Aga Khan in 1963 whose Alisarda holding company was the majority shareholder (51%), and a statement on Alisarda’s website said that a shareholder’s meeting held on February 11 had ended with the decision to proceed with “liquidazione in bonis” – to put the company into liquidation.

Qatar Airways, which has held a minority stake of 49% in Air Italy since September 201, subsequently released a statement which said that it has strongly believed in the company’s potential.

The Doha-based carrier went onto say that it supported proposed business plan put forward by Air Italy’s management, which it said would have led Air Italy’s growth and job creation, with the addition of long-haul routes and numerous in-flight service improvements.

“Despite our minority shareholder’s role, Qatar Airways has continuously provided all possible support to Air Italy right from the beginning, from releasing aircraft from our fleet and ordering new aircraft for Air Italy, to backing management choices and injecting capital and investment as required and permitted,” said the statement.

Qatar Airways went on to state that despite the competitive environment and the increasingly difficult market conditions which are impacting the air transport industry it had continually reaffirmed its commitment, as a minority shareholder, “to continue investing in the company to create value for Italy and the travelling public and to provide support for Air Italy and its staff”.

Qatar explicitly blamed Alisarda’s unwillingness to provide continued support as the reason for the liquidation.

“Qatar Airways was ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline, but this would only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders,” said the statement.