Dubai/Beijing — Qatar Airways has acquired a 5% stake in China Southern Airlines, the state-owned Gulf carrier said on Wednesday, in a move to gain access to the fast-growing mainland Chinese market. Qatar Airways also owns a 20% stake in British Airways (BA) parent, International Consolidated Airlines Group, 10% of South America’s Latam Airlines Group, 49% of Italy’s Meridiana, and 9.99% stake in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Qatar’s flagship airline has sought new partners and routes after it was blocked last year from flying to the lucrative markets of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to restrictions imposed by those countries. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a political and economic boycott on Qatar since June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies. China Southern, in a separate statement, said Qatar Airways may consider increasing its stake in the airline in the next 12 months. Qatar had no previous investment in the Chin...

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