American Airlines Group Inc. ended marketing agreements with Qatar Airways Ltd. and Etihad Airways PJSC, citing a longstanding dispute over whether the Persian Gulf carriers use government subsidies to compete unfairly.
Qatar Airways and Etihad were notified of the decision June 29, American said in an emailed statement Wednesday. That was a week after American said Qatar Airways wanted to buy a large stake in the U.S. carrier. American Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker called that plan “puzzling.”
The end of the marketing deals known as codeshares added to a war of words that flared up again this week when Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker disparaged U.S. flight attendants as grandmothers. Al Baker later apologized “unreservedly” for that comment.
The Qatar Airways CEO said his remarks were made at “a time of strong rivalry” with the U.S. airlines. American and Qatar Airways are members of the Oneworld alliance of global carriers.
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