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DOHA: June 23, 2017. Notwithstanding a list of political demands on Qatar from some of its neighbors today, Qatar Airlines CEO Akbar Al Baker appears to have had a pretty good week.

At the Paris Air Show on June 20 his airline won the Skytrax 'World's Best Airline' award for the fourth time – ahead of Singapore Airlines that earned second place.

The ceremony was followed by a meeting between Qatar's minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti and France's Transport minister Élisabeth Borne to "reaffirm the countries' ongoing support and affiliation", that includes the start of Qatar Airways' service to Nice on July 04.

Then on June 22 the airline acknowledged it had approached American Airlines (AA) to buy up to 10 percent of the company - first revealed in an SEC filing by the U.S. carrier. AA CEO Doug Parker reacted saying "we aren't particularly excited".

Skytrax QatarQatar Airways said its initial stake would be no more than 4.75 percent which, based on AA's current stock price on the Nasdaq, would suggest an investment of around US$1 billion. AA noted Qatar Airways plans to spend US$808 million "to build a passive position" in its oneworld alliance partner "with no involvement in management, operations or governance".

In a letter to employees Parker commented: "We find it puzzling given our extremely public stance on the illegal subsidies that Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have all received over the years from their governments. We remain committed to that effort, and we will remain so even with this potential investment."

An undismayed Al Baker declared: "This week has been a significant signal of Qatar Airways' ongoing role not just as a leader in the aviation industry, but as a connector in people's day-to-day lives. At a time of judgment, prejudice and illegal actions, Qatar Airways has triumphed through a simple yet central belief in bringing people together beyond borders in the sky, whether it be work colleagues, leisure passengers, or of course family members and friends."

In addition to being best airline for 2017 Qatar picked up awards for 'Best Business Class', the 'World's Best First Class Lounge' and the 'Best Airline in the Middle East' as a result of Skytrax annual passenger surveys.

ANA, Emirates and Cathay Pacific complete the Skytrax Top Five airlines for 2017 - with Lufthansa the best European carrier at No.7 and adding awards for 'Best First Class Airline Lounge Dining' and 'Best Airline in Western Europe'.

At No.12 in the Top 100 list, Turkish Airlines won 'World's Best Business Class Airline Lounge', 'Lounge Dining' and 'Onboard Catering' awards as well as 'Best Airline in Southern Europe'.

Among the North American airlines, Air Canada won 'Best Airline' at No.29 followed by Delta at No.32, Alaska Airlines at No.36, jetBlue at No.39, Southwest at No.54, AA at No.74 and United at No.78. Alaska Airlines won awards for 'Best Regional Airline' and 'Best Airline Staff' in North America.

In its AA investment announcement, Qatar Airways noted it had long considered the airline to be a good oneworld Alliance partner and looked forward to continuing the relationship.

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