Sardinia-based Meridiana is owned by the Aga Khan, a tycoon and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims
Italian airline Meridiana is asking labour unions to agree to 900 job cuts - nearly half its workforce - as part of a planned partnership with Qatar Airways, a person involved in the talks said.
Sardinia-based Meridiana - owned by the Aga Khan, a tycoon and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims - is under a government-sponsored restructuring plan.
The holding company behind Meridiana plans to complete a deal with Qatar Airways in the first half of 2016 after signing a memorandum of understanding earlier this month.
Qatar Airways will plough fresh money into a new company that will manage the airline, in which it will hold a 49 percent stake, Meridiana Chairman Marco Rigotti said after a meeting at Italy's industry ministry on Thursday.
The Aga Khan's fund will own the remaining 51 percent, Rigotti said, adding he hoped to strike a deal with unions by March over cuts to Meridiana's current 2,000-strong workforce.
Industry Minister Federica Guidi described a deal with Qatar as "the only option to relaunch and strengthen Meridiana", the ministry said in a statement.
Workers at Meridiana, which flies to and from the island of Sardinia and other destinations in Italy and abroad, have been in a state-funded layoff programme for over a year.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.