16 MAY 2016
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British Airways is to serve Qatar’s capital Doha with a non-stop daily service from London starting in October, removing its existing stopover in Bahrain, according to Forbes magazine.
The journal noted that the move comes less than a month after Qatar Airways said it had increased its stake in BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group IAG), from 9.99% to 12%.
Both airlines are members of the Oneworld alliance and have reciprocal codeshare agreements at their hubs.
Forbes said Qatar had been steadily growing its asset portfolio in the UK for several years through the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Holdings.
The company owns 20% of Heathrow and 100% of the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, plus several important London commercial properties.
These include Canary Wharf, the Shard, Claridge’s Hotel, Harrods and the former US embassy in Grosvenor Square, which is being turned into a hotel.
Walsh has again defended the Gulf carriers against accusations of state subsidies, telling a symposium in the US that the Gulf carriers were growing at a “commercially rational” pace.
Multi-billion-dollar subsidies from their governments did not constitute unfair competition, he added – “the sooner people recognise that and move on, the better”.
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