What will it mean when a Gulf carrier has control over a European airline group? Things will get much more interesting.
The state-owned airline bought a stake just shy of 10 percent, valued at 1.15 billion euros ($1.28 billion), in January, and Al Baker said on Wednesday that he considers the U.K.-based airline group and its management sufficiently attractive to warrant further investment at some point.
“We would like to increase our stake,” Al Baker told journalists at a briefing at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin. “We will consider when the time comes.”
Qatar Airways is already IAG’s single largest shareholder, and the two companies have grown increasingly close since Qatar joined IAG’s Oneworld Alliance in 2013. Al Baker said he would also consider other airline investments, though only carriers that are already in good shape and didn’t need Qatar’s help.
IAG rose as much as 10 pence, or 1.8 percent, to 566 pence in London after Al Baker’s comments. Qatar Airways isn’t publicly listed.
The executive declined to say whether he supported IAG’s plan to take over Aer Lingus Plc, a process that involves the Irish government, Aer Lingus’s second-largest shareholder behind Ryanair Holdings Plc.
“As a shareholder, I’d always support any growth in our business, but I’d not like to comment specifically on this situation as we’re not involved,” Al Baker said.
This article was written by Andrea Rothman from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Photo credit: Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker (3rd R) and other delegates pose in front of a Qatar Airways aircraft during a ceremony to mark Qatar Airways joining oneworld alliance. Fadi Al-Assaad / Reuters