I’ve been slow on the news trail past three days after rushing out of the metropolis to make a quick trip with the parents. Got back in last night and went to sleep, only to wake up to one more airline coming through in the Qatar Airways fold, at least partially.
This morning, Qatar Airways announced that they will be purchasing approx. 9.61% of Cathay Pacific, which is a fellow airline from the oneworld fold. Ironically, Qatar Airways is one of the latest members of oneworld and Cathay Pacific one of the oldest.
Qatar Airways is buying up the stake from an HK based company called Kingboard Chemical Holdings for about USD 665 Million, which was looking to offload the shares since earlier this year.
With this move, Qatar Airways is drumming up one more airline from the oneworld alliance into its passive investment fold. Qatar Airways already owns 20% of International Airlines Group (owner of British Airways and Iberia), 10% of LATAM Airlines Group and 49% of Meridiana. IAG also owns Air Lingus, the Irish carrier, which will soon be a part of oneworld.
Of course, Qatar Airways states they will passively invest in all these carriers, however, they then start offering active presence once they are in the fold. Which may be a good thing sometimes. Take, for instance, the BA strike when Qatar Airways deployed their A320s to operate flights on a wet lease.
These are of course first steps, and it remains to be seen how Qatar and Cathay will coordinate in the future. What is interesting is, apart from the Swire Group which owns about 45% of the airline, Air China already owns about 30% of the airline. That means two airlines owning major stakes in the carrier apart from Cathay itself, and everyone will have a view on how things should go.
After the rebuff from American Airlines, it seems Qatar Airways has still not lost appetite for buying into fellow oneworld carriers. Like I mentioned on Twitter, it seems they’d want a share of all oneworld carriers at some point in time. Just my guess.
— Ajay Awtaney (@LiveFromALounge) November 6, 2017
I hope this does not complicate plans Cathay Pacific has to slash costs, and also gives Qatar Airways a line into mainland China which is something they’ve wanted to do for long. Not just that, it remains to be seen how this helps them work the Australian market, a place where the Emirates/Qantas JV is doing very well.