Are Qatar Airways about to purchase a 10% stake in American Airlines?

Today just seemed be your average Thursday in the world of aviation, besides the Paris Air Show that is. However news broke a couple of hours ago that Qatar Airways have expressed an “unsolicited”  interest in acquiring a 10% stake in American Airlines.

In a statement released earlier today, American Airlines (AA) noted that Qatar Airways (QR) would like to purchase at least $800 million. For me this comes as very surprising news seeing as many U.S. carriers included American, United and Delta have frequently accused several Middle-Eastern carriers (MEC’s) of taking up major government subsidies which have helped them to become some of the world’s leading airlines with a substantial market share.

Of course Qatar Airways would see acquiring a 10% stake in American Airlines as a very good investment opportunity. Remember that the airline already holds a 20% stake in International Airlines Group (IAG). IAG are the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

American Airlines are currently the largest airline based in the United States who carried more than 197.8 million passengers last year in 2016. Operating more than 6,700 flights daily, AA holds more than 930 aircraft within it’s fleet and flies to more than 350 destinations. Does that make it an attractable investment? I think so.

Could Qatar Airways have a business plan to acquire stakes in many different airlines around the world so they can offer travellers paralleled choice when flying, or is it part of a longer term strategy. What do you think? Is this a surprising but good or bad move from the carrier? At the moment I think it is too early to say.

At the moment American Airlines have said they will respond to Qatar Airways “in due course”.


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