DALLAS, Texas – American Airlines and Qatar Airways said Tuesday they will put aside past hostilities and revive a partnership selling seats on some of each other’s flights and splitting the revenue.
American says it hopes that the arrangement will boost its ability to sell travel to India and elsewhere in Asia and also to Africa — weak spots in its current network.
If the U.S. government approves, American will sell seats on Qatar Airways flights between the U.S. and Doha, the capital of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar and a crossroads for travel between India and the U.S. and Europe. Qatar Airways could sell tickets on some American flights out of airports in Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles. This type of cross-selling is called code-sharing.
American said it will also consider starting its own flights from the U.S. to Doha, although not before 2021.
Vasu Raja, American’s senior vice president of network strategy, said the deal is part of a plan to expand the airline’s international offerings.
“Years ago we had a largely unprofitable international network. Business customers weren’t flying us, so we cut a number of routes,” Raja said in an interview. “Now we want to be able to expand American Airlines globally as much as we can.”
American and Qatar broke off their code-sharing partnership in 2018 amid open hostility between the two airlines and their CEOs.
American, Delta and United complained to two successive U.S. presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, that Qatar and two other Middle Eastern airlines were undercutting them with more than $50 billion in illegal government subsidies.