American Airlines, Qatar Airways find commercial common ground

Premium Analysis

American Airlines has emerged from a fog in the early weeks of 2020, outlining strategic partnerships with GOL, Alaska Air Group, and now, Qatar Airways.

After severing ties in 2018, American and Qatar appear to have buried the hatchet, determining that the benefits of a new pact far outweigh any lingering animosity regarding accusations over unfair subsidies and other issues that the Big 3 of American, Delta and United had raised against the largest Gulf Airlines during the past few years.

The Qatar deal is the last piece of a trifecta for American to lay the groundwork for building a competitive network over the long term. The new pact helps American make important inroads into the Middle East, India and Africa that complement its own efforts to expand in those regions.

American is hinting that at some point it will introduce service to Qatar's Doha hub on its own metal, which indicates that, indeed, if there had been any hard feelings between the two airlines, they are taking a back seat to more logical commercial interests.

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