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Qatar Airways’ Investment in Air Italy is Fully Compliant with U.S.-Qatar Open Skies Agreement

All agreed Open Skies conditions being met

Airline cross-border investments never raised as a point of concern during negotiations

 

DOHA, Qatar – Following recent false accusations relating to Qatar Airways’ shareholding in Air Italy, such baseless statements and consistent inaccuracies need addressing as a matter of urgency.

Qatar Airways holds a 49 per cent stake in Air Italy’s parent company, AQA. This minority investment is at the same level that Delta holds in both Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico, and that Etihad held in Alitalia.

Qatar Airways’ investment in Air Italy, and operations to the United States, are fully compliant with the U.S.-Qatar Open Skies Agreement, the January 2018 U.S.-Qatar Understandings, and a side letter that accompanied the discussions.

Unfounded claims that Qatar Airways’ investment in Air Italy violates the Understandings are entirely false.

As a factual matter, the investment preceded the January 2018 U.S.-Qatar Understandings.

·         The investment was announced in a July 2016 press release and was approved in writing by the European Commission (DG Competition) in March 2017. 

·         The transaction was closed in September 2017.

·         The discussions surrounding the Understandings took place in December 2017 and January 2018. 

Qatar Airways’ investment in Air Italy was a matter of public knowledge (as were Qatar Airways’ investments in other airlines) at the time of the U.S.-Qatar discussions; airline investments were not raised as a point of concern during those talks. The Understandings do not mention or prohibit cross-border investments of any type.

Furthermore, Qatar Airways does not codeshare on any of Air Italy’s flights to the United States, and has no plans to do so. Qatar Airways is not operating any Fifth Freedom scheduled air services to the U.S.

The “Big 3” U.S. carriers have consistently demonstrated their hostility to new entrants into the U.S.-Europe market, and their attacks on Air Italy based on the identity of its minority shareholder are just another manifestation of this hostility. Air Italy, the carrier the “Big 3” cite as a major “threat” to their survival, has a fleet of just 15 aircraft and only serves one U.S. city – New York – with a daily service while other routes, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco are operated at a lower frequency.

The U.S.-Qatar Open Skies Agreement has brought enormous benefits to U.S. and Qatari consumers, businesses and communities. Qatar Airways’ services to the United States contribute to U.S. tourism and business. Qatar Airways is a long-term and loyal customer of Boeing, Gulfstream and General Electric, helping to secure tens of thousands of U.S. jobs through our continued investment in their products and is a valued partner to many other U.S. businesses.

Notes to Editors:

About Qatar Airways: 

Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is celebrating more than 20 years of Going Places Together with travellers across its more than 160 business and leisure destinations on board a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft. The world’s fastest-growing airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its growing network this year, including Lisbon, Portugal; Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Langkawi, Malaysia; Davao, Philippines; Izmir, Turkey; and Mogadishu, Somalia.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways has been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, four times.                      

Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA 2022 World Cup, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message - Going Places Together.

Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world’s leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 15 Boeing 777 freighters and eight Airbus A330 freighters.

 

For further information, please contact:

Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department

Tel: +974 4022 2200

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