CEO of Qatar Airlines, Akbar Al Baker, has announced the company’s intentions of buying 4.75% of shares of rival, American Airlines, even after much resistance from the US Carrier. Qatar Airways originally stated that the company had intentions of buying 10% of American Airline’s shares and had notified American Airlines of such intentions. However, with a cold response from Amercan Airline’s CEO, Douglas Parker, and a company rule that prohibits anyone from acquiring more than 4.75% of company shares without prior board approval, Qatar Airlines has set its sights on 4.75% shares, even if they have to buy it in the open market.
Qatar Airways as stated that their intentions as only “strategic investors” and has assured American Airlines that it has no intentions of snooping into its regular operations. Qatar Airways also has a portfolio of stocks in other companies. It is the biggest shareholder in International Airways Group, which owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling with a 20% stake. It also owns 10% of Chile's LATAM Airlines, one of the biggest South American Carriers. This move by Qatar Airways comes at a time when it is caught in the midst of one of the worst diplomatic crises to hit the Gulf region and is locked in an airspace rights row with three other Gulf states.
As of 2:00 PM EST, shares of American Airlines are up 2%, over a dollar, to $52.30.