Qatar Airways seeks to create a virtual mega carrier with deals: CEO
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Qatar Airways wants to create a virtual mega-carrier that will give it economies of scale in negotiating fuel and operations, as it expands investments in other airlines, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
The Qatari carrier announced a $661 million deal on Monday to buy a 9.61 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (0293.HK), in a deal that will broaden its reach and potentially allow the oneworld alliance member to increase traffic through its Doha hub.
“Frankly I wish I could buy more. But the Swire Group and Air China hold most of it and I’m the third largest shareholder which is not bad,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said at the CAPA Asia Summit 2017 in Singapore, referring to Cathay’s top shareholders.
The airline’s investment strategy has seen it acquire 20 percent of British Airways-parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (ICAG.L), 10 percent of South America’s LATAM Airlines Group SA LTM.SN and 49 percent of Italy’s Meridiana.
He said Qatar Airways wants shareholdings to be exchanged between itself and its portfolio airlines and become a virtual mega carrier as such a move will help them get economies of scale in negotiating for fuel, ground handling, repairs and aircraft purchases.