(Reuters) - Qatar Airways said it will go ahead with plans to buy a stake in American Airlines Inc (AAL.O) even though the U.S. carrier is ending their code-share agreement.
American announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling code-share agreements with Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways as "an extension of our stance against the illegal subsidies that these carriers receive from their governments." Both Middle East airlines deny they are state subsidized.
American's decision to end the agreements which allow airlines to book passengers on each other's flights, ramps up an acrimonious dispute between U.S. carriers and Gulf competitors over competitive advantages.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on Thursday he was disappointed by the decision, but it would not affect the Middle East carrier's plans to buy up to a 10 percent stake in American, announced last month.
"Our stock purchase request and filing is going ahead as normal. We had to clarify certain questions of the regulator, which we compiled with," al-Baker told reporters in Doha.