28 September 2017 – The Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Graziano Delrio welcomed the agreement signed today between the Italian Air Company Meridiana and Qatar Airways: “We are very pleased that the Agreement between Meridiana and Qatar Airway was successfully concluded today; this implies new development opportunities non only for Sardinia but also for the Italian Air Transport, thanks to the investments which will be allocated. Today we have restored confidence and certainties to workers and better chance of finding new employment. It was a truly special day for our Country”.
6 September 2017 - “We are coming back from Doha after having attended the Official Ceremony for the Hamad Port’s opening, a strategic infrastructure in the Persian Gulf, capable of playing a key role in promoting a system of connections at global level in order to promote human and economic development.
It gave us the opportunity to confirm the importance of the Maritime Sector in the world economy as well as to show other Ministers how the Italian Port system may act as a gateway for goods entering or leaving Europe.
We have registered positive data on Italian ports in the first half of 2017 for container traffic (more than 5.4 per cent) and for heavy traffic, with more than 10 per cent of trucks taken off the road by ro-ro services. The consolidation of economic recovery and a sustainable transport system is made stronger by the motorways of the sea. The fast rail freight Corridors departing from the sea are fully operational with further development perspectives, considered that the investments for their implementation have been made available.
Italy is not only the entry-exit gateway from/to Europe, but also the favorite destination for tourists from all over the world: this is the reason why during my visit to Qatar I had several meetings with Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, one of the strongest air carriers in the world, in order to receive assurances on the conclusion of the Agreement with the Meridiana Air Carrier as well as to receive confirmation of the ambitious investment program previously planned.
During the various meetings held, I have tested the great interest expressed by Mr. Al Baker in promoting the development of air transport connections from and to Italy through the partnership with Meridiana; we have also clarified together several pending issues on which there was uncertainty, leaving Doha after having been assured of the coming final signature of the Agreement.
It is a very good news for workers and for the economy of Sardinia and Italy. The increase in flights and investments will strengthen the development opportunities of our air sector, which is steadily expanding with one-hundred million passengers registered in the first seven months of the year (more than 6.8 per cent) and with an increase in air freight traffic of 11.4 per cent in 2016.
The tourist sector, especially in Southern Italy, has great growth opportunities and air connections represent the necessary condition to make this happen. The important results achieved in July by the airports of Cagliari, Palermo and Catania, as well as the steady growth of Naples airport and the Apulian port and air sectors, make us hope for a better summer season in Southern Italy. Much work still remains to be done in order to connect Italy to the rest of the world. Our Country has much to gain from the breaking down of physical and cultural barriers and the exchange of knowledge and practices. It is important to continue to work and sow seeds day after day in order to gain full benefits”.