Qatar Airways’ stake in BA-owner strategic: Al Baker

 04 Jun 2016 - 5:24

DUBLIN: Qatar Airways said yesterday its 15 percent stake in British Airways-owner IAG was a strategic rather than financial investment which helped purchasing and network planning, but it was not seeking a board seat.
The Gulf carrier said in May it had increased its stake in International Consolidated Airlines Group to 15 percent from 12 percent amid a rapid global expansion.
“IAG is a strategic investment, not a financial investment,” Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told reporters at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Dublin, adding Qatar was “satisfied with 15.01 pct.”.
“The benefit is really unlimited, joint purchases, joint insurance, joint component repairs, handling, joint catering,” he said, adding that the Hamad International airport in Doha was a perfect hub to feed India, where IAG was not very strong. He said he had “absolute confidence” in the management of IAG and that Qatar was not seeking a seat on the board.
Speaking to Reuters at the same conference, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh insisted that the Qatar Airways holding had no bearing on any operational tie-ups and any deepening of the partnership was “completely separate” to the equity holding.
While the airlines’ cargo partnership, joint procurement and code shares were working well, “we would do these whether they  (Qatar Airways) had a stake in us or not,” he added.
Akbar Al Baker said Qatar Airways has cancelled its first Airbus A320neo jet and remains at an impasse with the European planemaker over delays in deliveries caused by engine problems.
He said the carrier would soon start talks with alternative engine supplier CFM, and had held talks with rival planemaker Boeing over switching to 737s, but was not yet walking away from Airbus.
“We will switch to the Max if we cannot resolve our issue. We will go to current option 737s and convert it to Max,” he said, adding he was sure Boeing could find production slots if needed.
The airline announced in May it was reducing the frequency of more than a dozen regular routes from Doha because of hold-ups in the delivery of new planes from European manufacturer Airbus.

Reuters

DUBLIN: Qatar Airways said yesterday its 15 percent stake in British Airways-owner IAG was a strategic rather than financial investment which helped purchasing and network planning, but it was not seeking a board seat.
The Gulf carrier said in May it had increased its stake in International Consolidated Airlines Group to 15 percent from 12 percent amid a rapid global expansion.
“IAG is a strategic investment, not a financial investment,” Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told reporters at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Dublin, adding Qatar was “satisfied with 15.01 pct.”.
“The benefit is really unlimited, joint purchases, joint insurance, joint component repairs, handling, joint catering,” he said, adding that the Hamad International airport in Doha was a perfect hub to feed India, where IAG was not very strong. He said he had “absolute confidence” in the management of IAG and that Qatar was not seeking a seat on the board.
Speaking to Reuters at the same conference, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh insisted that the Qatar Airways holding had no bearing on any operational tie-ups and any deepening of the partnership was “completely separate” to the equity holding.
While the airlines’ cargo partnership, joint procurement and code shares were working well, “we would do these whether they  (Qatar Airways) had a stake in us or not,” he added.
Akbar Al Baker said Qatar Airways has cancelled its first Airbus A320neo jet and remains at an impasse with the European planemaker over delays in deliveries caused by engine problems.
He said the carrier would soon start talks with alternative engine supplier CFM, and had held talks with rival planemaker Boeing over switching to 737s, but was not yet walking away from Airbus.
“We will switch to the Max if we cannot resolve our issue. We will go to current option 737s and convert it to Max,” he said, adding he was sure Boeing could find production slots if needed.
The airline announced in May it was reducing the frequency of more than a dozen regular routes from Doha because of hold-ups in the delivery of new planes from European manufacturer Airbus.

Reuters