Responding to comments made at a Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearing on Wednesday, Qatar Airways says its 49% ownership stake in
Air Italy doesn't violate an aviation agreement between the U.S. and Qatar
In a January 2018 deal that was meant to put an end to a
longstanding dispute between Qatar Airways and an alliance of United, American
and Delta, Qatar Airways provided verbal assurance that it had no intention of launching
one-stop flights to the U.S. from Qatar.
The Big Three U.S. airlines, numerous members of Congress and
secretary of state Mike Pompeo characterize Air Italy's U.S. flights as a proxy
for flying one-stops from Qatar. Qatar Airways calls this a "false
In a statement Thursday, Qatar Airways asserted that it is
fully compliant with all conditions of its Open Skies aviation agreement with
the U.S. and addressed "baseless statements" related to its 49% ownership
in Air Italy.
"Qatar Airways' investment in Air Italy was a matter of
public knowledge at the time of the U.S.-Qatar discussions; airline investments
were not raised as a point of concern during those talks," the carrier
said. The understandings do not mention or prohibit cross-border investments of
Also, Qatar Airways noted that Delta holds 49% ownership in
Virgin Atlantic and Aeromexico, just as Qatar does in Air Italy.
The airline added that it does not codeshare on Air Italy's
flights to the U.S. and does not have plans to do so.