American, Qatar bury the hatchet with new agreement

February 26, 2020

American Airlines and Qatar Airways say a renewed codeshare agreement is the first step in building a strategic partnership aimed at increasing commercial cooperation.

American is looking at opening up service between the US and Doha as part of the deal aimed at bolstering connectivity and creating new travel options for customers.

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The agreement represents a thawing of relations between the carriers after American rebuffed an attempt by Qatar to take an equity stake of up to 10 percent in 2017.

American was also part of a bitter campaign that alleged Gulf carriers benefited from illegal subsidies and called on the US government to restrict their access to American markets.

It will see American place its code on select Qatar Airways nonstop and connecting services to and from the US to Qatar’s hub in Doha.

The US carrier said this would give its customers access to new destinations in the Middle East, East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia.

Qatar will place its code on select flights beyond American’s hubs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles as well as on the US carrier’s international flights to and from Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

“Our goal is to continue to expand and deepen our global partnerships to complement American’s network and create more choice for our customers,” American chief executive  Doug Parker said.

“The issues that led to the suspension of our partnership two years ago have been addressed, and we believe resuming our codeshare agreement will allow us to provide service to markets that our customers, team members and shareholders value, including new growth opportunities for American Airlines.

“We look forward to the renewed cooperation between our airlines and hope to build an even stronger relationship with Qatar Airways over time.”

Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the strategic partnership was an agreement between “two successful and ambitious airlines with a shared common purpose to enhance the customer experience”.

“The deal will bring together two of the world’s largest airline networks, increasing choices for millions of passengers and providing seamless connectivity to a significant number of new destinations, in line with Qatar Airways’ successful growth strategy,’’ he said.

“We have moved on from past issues and look forward to working closely with American Airlines to build a world-leading partnership for all our customers.

“This agreement will harness our complementary strengths and resources and enable more customers to experience Qatar Airways’ award-winning product quality.”