Qatar Airways Bid to Buy 10% of American Airlines ‘Must Be Stopped,’ American Pilots Say

Qatar Airways wants to buy 10% of American Airlines Group Inc.  (AAL) , the Fort Worth, Texas, based company said Thursday, June 22, but the airline said in a filing that it didn’t solicit the proposed investment.

American shares rose 2.6% on Thursday to $49.68.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s pilots, blasted the offer.

“This is an action of aggression by the Qatar government and we take strong offense to that,” said APA spokesman Dennis Tajer.

“They are flush with cash because the government is subsidizing them,” Tajer said. “Now they want to come into our house and start buying the furniture.”

“This has got to be stopped,” he said.

In a statement Thursday, Qatar Airways said it “believes in American Airlines’ fundamentals and intends to build a passive position in the company with no involvement in management, operations or governance.

“Qatar Airways has long considered American Airlines to be a good oneworld Alliance partner and looks forward to continuing this relationship,” the carrier said. Qatar Airways plans to make an initial investment of up to 4.75% {and} will not exceed 4.75% without prior consent of the American Airlines board.”

American, United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) are locked in a battle with Qatar, Emirates and Etihad over the Gulf carriers’ efforts to expand in the U.S. while being heavily subsidized by the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

 In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, American said the investment does not alter its “conviction on the need to enforce the Open Skies agreements with the two countries.”
 American said its certificate of incorporation prohibits anyone from acquiring 4.75% or more of its stock without advance approval from the board. American said that it has not received a request for approval and that foreign ownership laws would limit the percentage of foreign voting interest to 24.90%.

In mid-morning trading, Delta shares rose 0.75% while United gained 0.18%.

Article originally found: TheStreet.Com