DOHA, 17 July 2017: Qatar Airways said late last week it was “disappointed” with an American Airlines decision to end its codeshare relationship with the Doha-based carrier as part of its push against government subsidies of Middle Eastern carriers.
But Qatar Airways’ chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, said the decision would not lead to his airline reducing services to the United States.
“We are disappointed,” Baker told reporters in Doha.
“We have other partners who want to work with us so we will continue.”
Earlier in the week, American notified Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad of its decision to end its “codeshare” partnership.
Maintaining the programme “no longer (makes) sense for us,” an American Airlines spokesman said.
“This decision has no material financial impact on American and is an extension of our stance against the illegal subsidies that these carriers receive from their governments.”
It came after Qatar Airways said in June that it wanted to buy as much as a 10% stake in American Airlines, which caught the US carrier by surprise.
Foreign policy experts viewed the move as an attempt by Qatar to garner foreign support amid a diplomatic clash between Qatar and four neighbouring states, including Saudi Arabia.
American — along with fellow US carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — has called for the White House to crack down on an alleged USD50 billion in state subsidies to Middle East carriers.
The US companies say the home-country financial backing allow the airlines to illegally compete in the American market, something, which Qatar Airways has denied.