Qatar Airways is “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.
Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said the decision would not lead to his airline reducing services to the US.
“We are disappointed,” Baker told reporters in Doha on Thursday. “But if this is any way for them to make us reduce or stop our operations to the United States, we are not going to do so,” he said.
“We have other partners who want to work with us so we will continue.”
On Wednesday, the US airline notified Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad of its decision to end its “codeshare” partnership – whereby two carriers share a flight – with both.
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 percent 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 Doha 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 $50 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.