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Further moves in airline sector

Qatar acquires 9.9% stake in British Airways owner IAG

QatarQatar Airways has acquired a 9.99% stake in British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

Both IAG and state-owned Qatar Airways already enjoy a close relationship as part of the Oneworld alliance and IAG said it welcomes Qatar Airways’ statement that it would look to strengthen existing commercial ties.

IAG also includes the Spanish carrier Iberia. Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, as a long term supportive shareholder.

“We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said: “IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy.

“Having joined the oneworld alliance it makes sense for us to work more closely together in the near term and we look forward to forging a long term relationship.

Qatar said it may increase its stake, although it had immediate intention to do so.

Qatar’s interest cam amid IAG’s continuing attempts to acquire Irish airline Aer Lingus which needs the backing of the Irish government and Ryanair which own big stakes in the company.

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