FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker (pictured above, with President Trump), approached American Airlines CEO Doug Parker at an industry conference in Mexico with a proposal to purchase 10 percent of his company. The next thing industry analysts knew, Qatar had moved forward with plans, notifying the appropriate federal antitrust agencies. The deal, which would start with acquiring 4.75 percent of American’s stock, worth about $1.1 billion, was described as an investment, with no interest in controlling operations. The investment betrayed what Middle Eastern airlines have been denying, that Qatar Airways, and others, have more resources than what is listed in their bank accounts. The proposal added fuel to an ongoing controversy about what is calculated to be about $50 billion in government subsidies for the Middle East Three: Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad Airways. In a recent letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, American companies complained the subsidies allow the Three “to operate without concern for turning a profit [and] therefore focus entirely on stripping market share and driving out competition.”
At presstime we learned of this update (via CNBC):
American Airlines will do everything it can to keep Qatar out of the U.S. market, CEO Doug Parker told CNBC’s “Halftime Report” on Friday (July 28)… It’s not fair, and our job is to make sure that we point out that it’s not fair and do everything we can to stop them from being able to expand into our markets and take away American jobs,” Parker said.