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Shareholders liquidate regional carrier Air Italy

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MILAN (AP) — Regional carrier Air Italy said Tuesday it will cease operations and liquidate after shareholders decided against further investments to keep it afloat.

The move came after the airline, formerly called Meridiana, was relaunched two years ago with a 51%-stake controlled by Alisarda, the Aga Khan's Sardinia-based holding company, and 49% by Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways said in a statement that it would have been willing to continue its support of the airline ‘’but this would have only been possible with the commitment of all shareholders.''

Italy's transport minister, Paola De Micheli, said ‘’the decision to liquidate a company of such a size without informing the government first and without seriously evaluating other alternatives is unacceptable.''

Unions put the number of jobs at the airline at 1,200. The company operated on some 30 domestic, European and trans-Atlantic routes.

Air Italy said in a statement that all Air Italy flights through Feb. 25 would be operated by other carriers as previously scheduled, while passengers with flights after that date would be rebooked on other airlines or refunded.

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