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Qatar invests $660m into Cathay Pacific amid ongoing blockade Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Qatar invests $660m into Cathay Pacific amid ongoing blockade

The deal is reportedly worth $662 million [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 November, 2017

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Qatar revealed it bought a stake in Cathay Pacific on Monday, in a deal reportedly worth $662 million, despite an ongoing land, air and sea blockade on the Gulf emirate.

Qatar Airways announced it bought a stake in Cathay Pacific on Monday, giving the Doha-based airline a toehold in the potentially lucrative Asian aviation market.

The state-owned Gulf carrier said it had acquired a 9.6 percent stake in Cathay, which would make it the third largest shareholder in the Hong-Kong based airline.

The deal was worth $662 million (570 million euros), according to Bloomberg News.

Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said in a company statement that Cathay was "one of the strongest airlines in the world", adding it had "massive potential".

The acquisition comes during an ongoing political crisis in the Gulf - the worst to hit the region in years.

The deal with Cathay Pacific also comes after Qatar Airways halted a bid in August to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines.

Since June, Qatar has been isolated by neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the tiny Gulf emirate.

As part of that dispute, Qatar Airways has been stopped from flying to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, previously popular destinations for the carrier.

The air traffic restrictions have caused headaches for the 2.4 million residents of Qatar, 90 percent of whom are foreigners, as flights were forced to take longer routes, for example, to South-East Asia.

The blockade was imposed on the back of allegations Qatar supports terrorism, accusations Doha denies vehemently and says are a political ploy meant to pressure it to adopt the blockading countries' foreign policy dictates.

Qatar has argued that the blockade is unlawful and inhumane, and has filed complaints with international human rights organisations and the WTO against the Saudi-led camp.

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