Qatar Airways has taken a 9.99 per cent stake in British Airways owner IAG.

The gulf carrier said the deal will “enhance” and “strengthen” existing commercial ties initiated through codeshare agreements as well as its membership of the Oneworld alliance.

Qatar said it may consider increasing its stake over time, but it was not currently intending to exceed the agreed 9.99 per cent.

IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our Westwards strategy,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

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

IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh, said: “We’re delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, as a long term supportive shareholder.

“We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

Qatar Airways formally joined Oneworld in October 2013.