Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker, the biggest troll in aviation, gave an interviewing suggesting American Airlines got outmaneuvered by Delta, that he thought their CEO would get replaced, and that he’s still considering leaving oneworld over bad relations with American.
- Praised his rival Delta for their coup acquiring 20% of LATAM, with plans to pull them out of the oneworld alliance (Qatar owns 10% of LATAM and is a member of oneworld), because they ‘outmaneuvered American.’
- Qatar talked openly about potentially pulling out of oneworld themselves a year ago. He says they’re still considering withdrawing, because of their poor relations with American (their erstwhile partner stopped codesharing with Qatar and joined Delta’s unsuccessful lobbying of the federal government to block Qatar’s and Air Italy’s U.S. flying).
“We have not made our final decision but we are still considering withdrawing,” al-Baker said of oneworld on Thursday. “We have been requested by other major players in the alliance to hold on, to see if they can repair the impasse that we have between us and American Airlines.”
- He said he “had expected a “major change” at the last American board meeting but that did not occur” clearly referring to American Airlines ousting CEO Doug Parker as a result of poor share performance, unhappy employees and customers, and getting blindsided by the loss of pending joint venture partner LATAM.
- Qatar is open to increasing its own stake in LATAM, though this may be difficult because after Delta’s 20% acquisition the percentage of openly traded shares could fall to as low as 28% of the company.
I don’t expect Qatar to up its stake in LATAM beyond Delta’s 20%, he has his codeshare even with the South American carrier leaving oneworld. And he’s certainly not on the inside of American’s board room though it’s rather inexplicable that the American Airlines board abides the status quo. That’s as good an indictment of any of corporate boards with CEO as Chairman, building out their own membership.