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The IAG investment helps Qatar Airways diversify at a time when some recently popular routes in and out of oil-friendly destinations are beginning to dry up.

Qatar Airways Ltd. increased its stake in British Airways owner IAG SA for the second time in less than three weeks to deepen ties with the European partner and benefit from its acquisition of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

The move lifts Qatar Airways’ holding in IAG to 15.01 percent from a stake of close to 12 percent that the Persian Gulf carrier revealed last month. After an initial investment in January last year to acquire a 9.99 percent stake, a further increase within the European Union regulation that limits foreign ownership of airlines to 49 percent may be considered, state-owned Qatar Airways said in a statement Tuesday.

“We have been very happy with our investment in IAG,” Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said in the statement. “The relationship formed has helped to deliver on our westbound strategy.”

Qatar Airways first drew closer to IAG after joining its Oneworld alliance in 2013, aided by the backing of the London-based company’s CEO Willie Walsh at a time when other European carriers were openly hostile to the expansion of Gulf rivals. With hubs in London and Madrid, IAG is well placed on trans-Atlantic, routes and that position will be strengthened with the addition of Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways said.

IAG rose 1.5 percent to 518.50 pence at the close in London, valuing Qatar Airways’ holding at about 1.58 billion pounds ($2.29 billion).

©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Benjamin Katz from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Tags: british airways, gulf carriers, qatar airways

Photo credit: A rendering of a British Airways plane. Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has invested even more money in parent company IAG. Fixion / British Airways

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