Qatar Airways has bought a $600 million stake in British Airways-owner "International Airlines Group" (IAG) to increase its holding to 25%, therefore advancing its strategy of building a global portfolio of airline investments. The airline said increasing its stake was evidence of its support for the company and its strategy. Qatar Airways first invested in IAG in 2015 buying 9.99% of the company and has steadily increased its holding to the then previously held 21.4%.
“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,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.
IAG is an Anglo-Spanish multinational airline holding company with its registered office in Madrid, Spain and its operational headquarters in London, UK. It was formed in January 2011 after a merger agreement between British Airways and Iberia, the flag carriers of the UK and Spain, respectively. IAG also owns the Spanish carrier Vueling and Ireland’s Aer Lingus.
State owned Qatar Airways, one of the Middle East’s biggest carriers, has said its investments in other carriers were mostly for financial purposes. It bought some of its holdings after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia banned it from their airspace after a regional political dispute which Qatar Airways has blamed for its recent losses. It has minority holdings in international carriers Cathay Pacific and China Southern Airlines and said earlier this month it was interested in doubling its holding in LATAM Airlines Group to 20% and was in talks to buy a 49% stake in Africa’s RwandAir. The airline also owns 49% of Air Italy, whose investors this month said was being placed into liquidation because of persistent and structural market problems.