Friday 20 July 2018

IAG shareholder backs Norwegian approach

IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, invested in Norwegian in April, picking up a 4.6pc stake in the struggling carrier with a view to starting takeover discussions. Photo: Bloomberg
IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, invested in Norwegian in April, picking up a 4.6pc stake in the struggling carrier with a view to starting takeover discussions. Photo: Bloomberg

Erich Zann

The CEO of Qatar Airways has said he would back Aer Lingus-owner IAG in any of its expansion plans when asked about IAG's possible takeover of Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Qatar Airways owns a 21pc stake in IAG.

"Qatar Airways will always support IAG in anything they do because it is a business in which we have a strategic interest," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker told reporters at a press conference.

"Whatever they do to expand their business it has been thought after well and we will support them."

IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, invested in Norwegian in April, picking up a 4.6pc stake in the struggling carrier with a view to starting takeover discussions.

Meanwhile, Norwegian itself is entering the critical summer travel season with a bet that jet fuel prices will recede from three-and-a-half-year highs - a position that risks weakening CEO Bjorn Kjos's hand as he negotiates a potential buyout by the owner of British Airways.

The Oslo-based low-cost airline, known for offering $99 flights between Europe and the US, typically hedges about half its fuel needs to protect against abrupt jumps that could explode costs.

But it started scaling back last year, after kerosene prices were already on the rise.

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