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Qatar drops plans to buy up to 10% of American

Qatar Airways has dropped plans to buy a 10% stake in American Airlines, following continued opposition by the US carrier.

"Qatar Airways has taken the decision not to proceed with its proposed passive financial investment in American Airlines," the Doha-based carrier says in a statement. "Further review of the proposed financial investment, taking into account the latest public disclosure of American Airlines, has demonstrated that the investment no longer meets our objectives."

A spokesman for American says the airline has "respect" for Qatar's decision, adding that the move has no impact on the US carrier.

American has opposed the "unsolicited" investment, as it referred to it in securities filings, since the plans were disclosed in June.

"We aren’t particularly excited about Qatar’s outreach, and we find it puzzling given our extremely public stance on the illegal subsidies that Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have all received over the years from their governments," said Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of the Fort Worth-based carrier, in a letter to employees in June. "We remain committed to that effort, and we will remain so even with this potential investment."

American, along with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, claim that Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar have benefitted from more than $50 billion in government subsidies, which have allowed them to dump capacity in the US market under open-skies agreements. The US airlines have lobbied US officials since 2015 to limit access by the Gulf carriers, however, no action has been taken to date.

In July, American notified investors that Qatar had filed an updated notice with the US Federal Trade Commission on its plans to buy up to a 10% stake in the carrier. It repeated its view that the investment was unsolicited and would not change its board or management.

Qatar could have bought up to a 4.74% stake in American without its approval but would need board sign-off for anything above that.

American, following the disclosure of the planned investment, notified its Oneworld Alliance partner that it planned to end their codeshare agreement in March 2018.

Updated with comment from American

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