Qatar Airways has announced it has increased its stake in British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group to just over 20 per cent.

In a statement the Gulf carrier said:

“On 12 July 2016 Qatar Airways announced that it held a 15.67 per cent shareholding in International Airlines Group (IAG) and reiterated that it may consider increasing its stake further within the allowable limits.

“Non-EU shareholders of IAG including Qatar Airways are subject to an overall cap on non-EU ownership as a result of the requirement for EU airlines to be majority owned by EU shareholders.

“As of 28 July, Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that it now holds 20.01 per cent of IAG.

“While Qatar Airways’ interest in IAG is purely financial, the increased shareholding reflects the strength of commercial and strategic ties between the companies and evidences the continued support for the ongoing strategy of IAG.”

Qatar’s CEO Akbar Al Baker also said that “”The recent market valuation of one of the world’s leading airline groups has provided what we believe is an attractive opportunity to increase our shareholding in IAG”.

“We continue to be highly supportive of IAG’s strategy and management team and we do not intend to increase our percentage shareholding further unless there are material changes to the current situation.”

IAG currently comprises of four passenger airlines – British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, as well as IAG Cargo.

Qatar Airways is a member of the BA-founded Oneworld frequent flyer programme.,