Qatar Airways has become a "long-term supportive shareholder" of International Airlines Group (IAG) after purchasing a ten per cent stake in the company.
The share, worth around £1.15 billion, will see both Qatar Airways and the British Airways owner forge a much stronger working relationship. The pair are already part of the Oneworld alliance but this share will allow Qatar to create closer link with a firm that has two major European hubs and strong transatlantic networks.
Both IAG chief executive Willie Walsh and Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker have commended the deal. Mr Walsh explained that the partnership would allow his company to explore what "opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG's ambitions as the leading global airline group".
Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier, has been growing at an exponential rate in recent years. The airline currently employs over 31,000 people and operates flights to 125 international destinations across the world. Based at its hub of Hamad International Airport in Doha, the company became a Oneworld alliance member in October 2013.
Qatar Airways is facing increased competition in the Gulf with the likes of Etihad Airways and Emirates performing well. The company announced that it aims to build on its traffic figures, which reached 22 million passengers during the 2013/14 financial year, by ordering a further 340 aircraft.
The carrier is still a long way behind its main competitors with Emirates boasting passenger numbers of 44.5 million. However, through its partnership with IAG, which saw 77 million passengers use its service in the past year, Qatar will be hoping to boost its numbers in the coming months and years.
Following the announcement, International Consolidated Airlines Group SA saw its share price open 0.64 per cent down on Monday (February 2nd) morning.
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