For quite a few years now, the Big 3 US airlines and their main lobbying group, Airlines for America, have had a serious problem with the Gulf carriers. Specifically, they believe Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are receiving sizable subsidies from their respective governments. They believe this creates a lopsided playing field that US airlines can’t compete on. The unions of the airlines believe this costs them jobs. Yesterday we learned Qatar Airways intends to purchase a 10% stake in American Airlines, a publicly held company. It took many folks by surprise, including me.
When I learned about this yesterday, I predicted the unions of major US carriers like American and United would use this announcement to beat their drums a bit louder. It didn’t take long.
The head of the APFA (Association of Professional Flight Attendants) has released a statement to members about the Qatar Airways investment.
The intentions of Qatar Airways are clear. They are using enormous government subsidies to gain a greater foothold in U.S. markets. They’re coming after our routes, which means the jobs of our members are at stake.
APFA members are working closely with other stakeholders in the U.S. airline industry to win fair enforcement of our Open Skies laws with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Allowing Qatar Airways a major stake in American Airlines can only undercut our efforts to preserve good jobs for U.S. workers and maintain open travel at affordable prices for U.S. consumers.
“Allowing Qatar Airways a major stake in American Airlines….”
Does he have any idea how a publicly held company trades their shares? Qatar Airways filed under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Provision Act that it intends to purchase approximately 10% of the outstanding shares of American Airlines, as noted by View From The Wing.
Could the APFA really argue with a straight face that US commerce is negatively affected by Qatar Airways driving up the share price of a large US company?
Time to go get some more popcorn….
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