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Qatar Airways Looks to Invest In Budget Airline After American Deal Falls Through

Qatar Airways Looks to Invest In Budget Airline After American Deal Falls Through
Jennifer Billock

After American Airlines pushed it away, Qatar Airways looks to possibly invest in JetBlue Airways.

On August 2, Qatar Airways decided not to invest in American Airlines, after Doug Parker, American’s CEO, publicly said he wasn’t interested in the investment. The two airlines, though, are partners in the OneWorld Alliance.

The move away from American won’t necessarily stop Qatar from trying to invest in a U.S.-based airline. American, United, and Delta all oppose growth of Gulf companies in the U.S. market, but some smaller and budget carriers may be open to the idea.

“We have other opportunities, both in America and North America, which we will consider,” Akbar Al Baker, Qatar’s chief executive officer, told Skift. “I have some things in mind. The U.S. is an important market for us.”

Now Qatar may be looking toward JetBlue as a possible investment opportunity, an airline that has supported Gulf carriers amidst American, United, and Delta’s pushback to limit U.S. business. Other potential options include Alaska Airlines, Interjet in Mexico, and WestJet in Canada, though experts are expecting JetBlue is the frontrunner.

Regardless of American’s hesitancy, though, Qatar remains willing to work together with the airline.

“We can independently grow but we feel that it is always in the interest of any business to make alliances and to make investments,” Al Baker told Skift. He also noted that if American ever wanted to take a stake in Qatar, the airline would support it. Currently, foreign airlines are only allowed to get a 25 percent stake in any American company.

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