Qatar Airways has bought a five per cent stake in China Southern Airlines, according to an announcement from the Qatari flag carrier.

The airline says the deal, completed on December 28, is part of its strategy to “invest in the strongest airlines around the world and continue enhancing operations and network connectivity”.

“Given the complementary strengths and resources of each of China Southern Airlines and Qatar Airways, there are opportunities for us to work together and build a long term relationship in ways that would bring benefits to customers of both airlines,” says Qatar Airways’ group chief executive Akbar Al Baker.

“The investment is a clear demonstration of Qatar Airways’ continued commitment to connecting travellers across all corners of the world in a way that is meaningful and convenient.”

Speaking before the deal was announced, Al Baker told Business Traveller that “You don’t need to get into the bureaucracy of an airline alliance if you are already holding strategic stakes in these airlines.”

In March 2017, American Airlines bought 270 million shares of China Southern for a 2.76 per cent stake. In 2015, US carrier Delta Air Lines invested US$450 million into Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines in return for a 3.55 per cent stake.

China Southern, which is based in Guangzhou, left the Skyteam airline alliance at the start of this year. 

Qatar Airways also has a 20 per cent investment in International Airlines Group, a 10 per cent investment in LATAM Airlines Group, a 49 per cent investment in Air Italy and a 9.99 per cent investment in Cathay Pacific.