Belfast Telegraph

Qatar Airways ups its stake in IAG

By Staff Reporter

Qatar Airways has swooped to up its stake in British Airways owner IAG to 20% following a post-referendum fall in the company's share price.

The Middle Eastern firm had previously held 15.7%, and chief executive Akbar Al Baker said that IAG's shares, which have fallen 24% since June 23, were "an attractive opportunity".

"The recent market valuation of one of the world's leading airline groups has provided what we believe is an attractive opportunity to increase our shareholding in IAG," he said.

"We continue to be highly supportive of IAG's strategy and management team and we do not intend to increase our percentage shareholding further unless there are material changes to the current situation."

Last week, IAG's Dublin-born boss Willie Walsh said that a weak pound triggered by the Brexit vote, terror attacks and air traffic control strikes took their toll on British Airways in the first six months of the year, with the group poised to cut capacity and review investments as a result.

In June, the airline was forced to issue a profit warning following the referendum result, and has since said it is experiencing lower demand for flights.

IAG added that plans to increase capacity would be scaled back and its investment pipeline for next year is now "under review".

Two of IAG's airlines - British Airways and Aer Lingus - operate direct flights from Belfast to London's Heathrow Airport.

Earlier this year, its chief Willie Walsh told the Belfast Telegraph he was having discussions with Bombardier boss Alain Bellemere about buying a number of the aircraft.

Belfast Telegraph