Qatar Airways Now Owns Over A Quarter Of IAG

Qatar Airways has upped its stake in the International Airlines Group. The Middle Eastern airline now owns a quarter of British Airways’ parent company.

IAG, Qatar Airways, Increased Stake
Qatar Airways has increased its stake in the International Airlines Group. Photo: London Heathrow Airport

The International Airlines Group is known for being the owner of British Airways and Iberia. Additionally, the group owns low-cost brands Level and Vueling, alongside Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus. The group is also looking to acquire the Spanish airline Air Europa. Now, Qatar Airways, which previously owned just over a fifth of the International Airlines Group, has upped its stake to just over a quarter. It now owns 25.1% of the airline group.

An increased stake

Qatar Airways has now increased its stake in the International Airlines Group. Previously the Qatari flag carrier had held a 21.4% stake in the group. However, the airline today announced that this has been increased to 25.1%. As a result, Qatar Airways now owns over a quarter of the group (just). This is in addition to stakes in a number of other airlines including, until recently, Air Italy.

Speaking of the acquisition, the airline said,

“Qatar Airways continues to consider opportunities to invest in airlines and support management teams that share our vision to enhance travel opportunities for airline passengers across the globe.”

Air Italy 737 MAX
Qatar Airways has a number of airline investments, including Air Italy before it announced liquidation last week. Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, and IAG spokesperson simply told Simple Flying,

“Qatar Airways has announced today that it has increased its stake in IAG from 21.4 to 25.1 per cent. The airline has been a shareholder in IAG since 2015.”

An interesting year for IAG

2020 is set to be an interesting year for the International Airlines Group. Later this year aviation veteran Willie Walsh, the current CEO of IAG, will step down from his role in order to retire. Walsh has been the CEO of IAG since its formation from a merger of Iberia and British Airways. Prior to this, he was the CEO of IAG airlines Aer Lingus and British Airways.

While all of this is ongoing, the group is also in the midst of a new airline acquisition. In November last year, IAG signed a deal with Air Europa worth 1 billion ($1.08 billion). Pending the usual regulatory approval, the acquisition would be the third Spanish airline to join the group behind Iberia and Vueling.

IAG, Air Europa, Purchase
IAG is set to acquire Spanish carrier Air Europa. Photo: Boeing

Now, the latest news to involve the airline comes following a January share announcement. On the 17th of January, the group announced that it had removed a cap on the percentage of shares that could be held by “Relevant Non-EU Persons”.

It removed this maximum as the percentage held by non-EU Persons had fallen from 47.5% to 39.5%. However, with Qatar’s increased ownership announcement, this will have risen back up to 43.2%. At the time, the group said,

“The IAG Board will continue to monitor the Relevant Non-EU Persons ownership level. Under Article 11 of IAG’s bylaws, the Board is authorised to re-impose the Permitted Maximum at any time if necessary.”

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ increased IAG ownership? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.