After a two-year strained relation, American Airlines and Qatar Airlines have decided to renew their codeshare agreement. This new agreement shows the two airlines have turned over a new leaf and all the animosity is in the past.
The Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker addressed the news and said; “The issues that led to the suspension of our partnership two years ago have been addressed. He further stated that, “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.”
The Chief Executive of Qatar Airlines Akbar Al Baker also released a statement regarding the strategic partnership. He said, “It 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.”
Once the government approval is through, American Airlines will add its code to a few nonstop and connecting Qatar flights to and from America. The agreement also paves the way for Qatar placing its code on select flights moving beyond Chicago O’Hare, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Philadelphia.
American Airlines CEO Parker informed his staff that, “The airline has gotten more strategic about where American’s metal is deployed and when to enter joint businesses and alliances with partners to strengthen and complement our network. We will continue to act strategically to expand and deepen our global partnerships.”
The issue began in 2015 when American Airlines accused Qatar of unfair subsidies by their government which was costing U.S., jobs. However, the Gulf carriers have denied any underhanded work to distort competition.
The two largest air carriers began to publicly ridicule each other before the split. Akbar Al Baker had said, “There is no need to travel on those crap American carriers.” A week after this statement, Qatar Airlines made an offer to buy 10% of American Airlines.
The offer was immediately rejected by Parker who stated, “We’re a bit bewildered as to why Qatar is interested in investing in American Airlines, given the very public and aggressive position we’ve taken about their business model.” This back and forth led to the cancellation of the agreement. In June 2017, American Airlines announced it was terminating the codeshare agreement with Qatar Airlines.
Now the two Airline heads who seemed to be on bitter terms have decided to work together. This agreement allows passengers to fly with American Airlines and then connect with Qatar flights to destinations in the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Middle East.