Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Qatar Airways seeks 10 pct stake in American Airlines

Qatar Airways will push through with plans to begin flights to Canberra early next year Qatar Airways seeks 10 pct stake in American Airlines
Laurie Berry | 24 June, 2017, 22:21

United States commentators suggested the move by Qatar is an attempt to muddy the waters in the battle by the USA carriers against their Gulf counterparts.

Qatar is purchasing the shares on the open market, so there is little American Airlines can do now. As the most respected global airline passenger survey organization in the industry, Skytrax evaluates traveler experiences across different airports with service and product key performance indicators.

Foreign ownership of US airlines is restricted at 24.9 percent of voting shares under federal law.

Qatar submitted a filing under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which is subject to review by the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.

The US firm will respond in due course, but it said its certificate of incorporation prohibits anyone from acquiring 4.75 per cent or more of the company's outstanding stock without approval from the board. Shares of American shot up 5.6 percent in pre-market trade.

Some have suggested Akbar Al Baker is trying to soften American's lobbying in Washington.

Singapore Airlines earned second place in this year's World Airline Awards, with All Nippon Airways coming in third. "Long term, Qatar might view this investment as a stepping-stone to more access to the U.S". "All this is doing is strengthening our resolve to defend our airline, which we will continue doing vigorously".

Parker said that Qatar's solicitation will not change American's stance on the issue.

But American, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have been pushing USA political leaders to curtail the growth of the Middle East's three biggest airlines, Qatar, Emirates and Etihad, saying that they are subsidized airlines that have competed unfairly.

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The news comes after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE cut ties with Qatar over alleged support for extremist groups, something the Qatari government denies. Now it wants to buy a big chunk of the US carrier.

Shares in American Airlines rose 2.9% in early trading.

Qatar Airways will make all necessary regulatory filings at the appropriate time, added a statement.

The airline, which travels to destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa, North America and South America, was honored with the accolade during an awards ceremony Tuesday.

The gulf carrier says it is seeking a stake as large as 10% in American, the world's largest carrier by traffic. The company has also been open with American Airlines Group Inc about acquiring the stake.

American's unions, who fear job losses if Middle East carriers expand service to the US, reacted with apprehension to the news of Qatar's interest in their company. Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, accused Qatar of "asymmetric financial warfare".

Qatar Airways recently notified American it's interested in purchasing at least $808 million in stock on the open market. The airline declined a request to interview Parker or other executives.

Qatar Airways, American Airlines, IAG's British Airways, Iberia and LATAM, are all members of the oneworld airline alliance.

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