Qatar Airways takes 9.99 per cent stake in IAG

Qatar Airways has announced that it had acquired a 9.99 per cent stake in International Airlines Group (IAG), British Airways and Iberia owner.

A statement from IAG's chief financial officer, Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, said, ''Both IAG and Qatar Airways have a close relationship already as part of the oneworld alliance and IAG welcomes Qatar Airways' statement that it would look to strengthen existing commercial ties.

Commenting on the share acquisition, Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said the company was delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world's premier airlines, as a long term supportive shareholder. He added, the company would talk the Qatar Airways as to what opportunities existed to work more closely together and further ambitions of IAG as the leading global airline group.

With the stake acquisition, Qatar's national airline had now emerged as the biggest shareholder in the European company. However, non-EU shareholders are prevented from majority stake ownership of EU airlines, The Independent reported.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said yesterday that IAG represented an excellent opportunity to further develop the company's westwards strategy.

Earlier this week it was announced that Canary Wharf was to be bought by Qatar for £2.6 billion.

Canary Wharf's majority owner Songbird Estates accepted a bid from the Qatar Investment Authority, headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, and Canadian developer Brookfield.