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Qatar Airways promises passive role in Cathay buy

Qatar Airways says it would have liked to purchase a larger stake in Cathay Pacific, and that it has no plans to play an active role in the airlines that it invests in.

"I look at the bigger picture. I believe in investing in airlines that will bring synergies to us in many ways. We see a lot of benefits in Qatar Airways investing in these very, very strong, robust, expanding airlines," Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says in a televised interview.

His comments come days after a 6 November announcement that Qatar Airways will pay HK$5.16 billion ($661 million) to purchase a 9.61% stake in Cathay from conglomerate Kingboard Chemical.

Al Baker pointed to other airline investments where the carrier has taken a passive role as a sign that it will not attempt to dictate Cathay's future direction.

"We are a stakeholder in LATAM now already for a year, and a stakeholder in IAG for nearly three years. We have not made any attempts to influence any decisions that they are making. They are successful, long-established airlines and they don't need my interference or my advice," he adds.

Media reports also quote him as saying that Qatar Airways would have liked to have bought more of Cathay's shares and would still be interested to do so within the regulatory framework.

They add that Qatar Airways will not push for a board seat on Cathay. Instead, the duo will likely codeshare on flights beyond their hubs in Doha and Hong Kong, and also work on joint purchasing in areas such as ground handling and maintenance.

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