Etihad Airways apparently has become a victim of the continuing conflict between American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) and Qatar Airways.
American said Wednesday, July 12, it will end codeshare agreements with Qatar and Etihad effective in March 2018. American said it notified the two carriers of the decision on June 29, one week after it revealed in a a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Qatar wanted to buy up to 10% of its stock.
American said its decision was based on the ongoing dispute regarding rapid U.S. expansion by the subsidized Middle East three carriers -- Etihad, Emirates and Qatar, collectively known as the ME3 -- in violation of the Open Skies agreements that enable the expansion.
"Given the extremely strong public stance that American has taken on the ME3 issue, we have reached the conclusion that the codesharing relationships between American and these carriers no longer make sense for us," American said in a prepared statement.
Etihad said that it is "disappointed with the decision.
"We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial codeshare since 2009 that has provided passengers flying to and from the United States with more and better flight options to points in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and other destinations that historically have not been served by U.S. airlines," Etihad said in a prepared statement.
"The Etihad Airways/American Airlines relationship continued notwithstanding our differences on the so-called "Open Skies" political dispute," the carrier said. "We view the decision by American Airlines as being anti-competitive and anti-consumer. This action will reduce choices for consumers and may result in higher fares for travelers to and from the United States."