Qatar Airways said it will no longer pursue buying a stake in American Airlines, contending “the investment no longer meets our objectives.”
Doha-based Qatar Airways surprised the global airline industry in June when it announced its intention to acquire up to a 10% stake in Dallas/Fort Worth-based American valued at about $800 million. American made no secret of its discomfort with the proposed unsolicited bid. American chairman and CEO Doug Parker called the potential investment “puzzling, at best, and concerning, at worst” in a letter to employees.
Parker and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker have been vocal participants on opposite sides of the subsidy dispute between major US airlines and major Gulf carriers. Parker made clear that any investment by Qatar Airways would not persuade him to back off from the campaign to push the US government to take action against alleged “illegal subsidies that Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have all received over the years from their governments.”
American said last month it would end its codeshare relationships with Qatar Airways, a fellow oneworld member, and Etihad Airways as a protest against the alleged subsidies it claims those airlines and Emirates Airline receive.
Al Baker had made assurances that Qatar Airways would be a “passive” investor in American that would not get involved in the US airline’s management. But Qatar Airways has now decided against any investment.
“Qatar Airways has taken the decision not to proceed with its proposed passive financial investment in American Airlines,” Qatar Airways said in a statement. “Further review of the proposed financial investment, taking into account the latest public disclosure of American Airlines, has demonstrated that the investment no longer meets our objectives. Qatar Airways will continue to investigate alternative investment opportunities in the United States of America and elsewhere that do meet our objectives. Qatar Airways will continue to seek opportunities to invest in global aviation to support the airline’s goal to offer the best possible travel experience for its customers.”
It is unclear what Qatar Airways is referring to in regard to American’s “latest public disclosure.” American’s most recent major public announcement was the release of its second-quarter earnings on July 28, when it reported a quarterly net profit of $803 million.
“We respect Qatar Airways’ decision not to proceed with its proposed investment in American Airlines,” American spokesperson Matt Miller said. “This in no way changes the course for American. Our 120,000 team members remain energized and focused on taking care of those who entrust us with their travel needs.”