London - Qatar Airways increased its stake in British Airways owner IAG SA for the second time in less than three weeks, as the Persian Gulf carrier seeks to benefit from closer ties with its European partner.
The move lifts Qatar Airways’ holding in IAG to 15% from a stake of close to 12%, which the Doha-based airline revealed last month. After an initial investment in January last year to acquire a 9.99% share, a further increase within the European Union regulation that limits foreign ownership of airlines to 49% may be considered, state-owned Qatar Airways said in a statement on Tuesday.
The investment bolsters the airline’s “westbound strategy” by providing access to IAG’s trans-Atlantic network and leading positions at hubs in London and Madrid, said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways. It also enables the airline to take more advantage of IAG’s acquisition of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.