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After Failure of Air Italy, Minority Investor Qatar Airways Increases Stake in Owner of British Airways and Iberia

After Failure of Air Italy, Minority Investor Qatar Airways Increases Stake in Owner of British Airways and Iberia

a close-up of a plane

Qatar Airways today announced it had increased its stake in the parent company of British Airways and Iberia by 3.7 per cent to 25.1 per cent in a filing with London Stock Exchange. The news comes just days after Air Italy, in which the Persian Gulf airline held a 49 per cent stake, announced it was placing itself into voluntary liquidation after “repeated losses and persistent negative market and sector conditions”.

In a short statement announcing today’s development, Qatar Airways said it “continues to consider opportunities to invest in airlines and support management teams.”

Qatar Airways Continues to Find New Uses for A320 Aircraft Grounded Due to Political Dispute
Photo Credit: Qatar Airways

“Our investment to date has been highly successful and the announced increase in our shareholding is evidence of our continued support of IAG and its strategy,” explained Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of the Doha-based airline.

Qatar Airways first acquired shares in the IAG airline group (which also owns Aer Lingus and the Spanish low-cost brands LEVEL and Vueling) in 2015 with a 9.99% stake. At the time, the airline said IAG represented an opportunity to develop its Westward strategy, citing its membership of the OneWorld airline alliance as another key factor in its decision to invest in IAG.

Over the last 12-months, there has been speculation that Qatar Airways would leave OneWorld following a spat with fellow member airline American Airlines. Al Baker had threatened to leave the alliance on several occasions but no formal announcement on future membership has ever followed.

Qatar Airways has increased its stake in IAG several times over the last five years, noting that it could push its shareholding to the maximum permissible limit under European rules. EU rules prevent Qatar Airways from acquiring more than 49 per cent of the Madrid-based airline group.

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