Qatar Airways eyes stake in US airline amid anti-Qatar tensions

2017-06-22 16:51
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New York - Qatar Airways has notified American Airlines it wants to buy about a 10 percent stake in the US carrier, which confirmed the move on Thursday in a securities filing.

Qatar Airways disclosed that it planned to buy at least $808 million in shares, and Qatar Airways' chief executive told his counterpart at American that the carrier sought a stake of about 10 percent, American Airlines said.

"The proposed investment by Qatar Airways was not solicited by American Airlines and would in no way change the Company's Board composition, governance, management or strategic direction," American said in the filing.

The move comes as Qatar faces conflict with neighboring countries after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed ties over Doha's alleged support for extremist groups and Iran. The countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar.

SEE: What do the Qatar travel restrictions mean and how are travellers affected?

Qatar's government denies all the allegations.

American, for its part, also has had its differences with Qatar Airways, among other Middle Eastern carriers, over state subsidies the US air travel industry believes violate trade agreements.

The Qatar stake in American "does not alter American Airlines' conviction on the need to enforce the Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and the nation of Qatar and ensure fair competition with Gulf carriers, including Qatar Airways," American said in the filing.

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"American Airlines continues to believe that the President and his administration will stand up to foreign governments to end massive carrier subsidies that threaten the US aviation industry and that threaten American jobs."

Shares of American shot up 5.2 percent in pre-market trading to $50.90.

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