Qatar Airways Taking Revenge On American?

Qatar Airways tried to buy into American Airlines. A tighter relationship with American could have,

  • helped feed its US flights
  • gain favor with the administration to solve political problems with US airlines trying to shut down Open Skies
  • perhaps even gain political favor in resolving the blockade it faces from neighboring Gulf countries.

Qatar currently owns a 20% stake in British Airways and Iberia parent IAG. They own stakes now in LATAM and Cathay Pacific as well as Italian carrier Meridiana-turned-Air Italy.

However American’s CEO Doug Parker took umbrage at the move. He’s been telling his employees how much of a danger Qatar Airways is. He immediately attacked the proposed investment. And he terminated American’s codesharing with Qatar.

We learned this week that Qatar Airways would be making an investment in JetSuite the California-based private jet rental company which also offers scheduled West Coast service on regional jets with enhanced comfort. And that had me scratching my head, though it’s notable that JetBlue is also a JetSuite investor (its founder was an early JetBlue employee).

Now comes news that JetSuite is going to “expand its public face with a fleet of regional jets that will eventually grow to 100” by 2023 — from its current 5 — and also move from Southern California to Dallas Fort-Worth.

That sounds like more aggressive growth than anyone might reasonably project organically. And
Qatar did say they launched Doha – Atlanta flights “for spite.” Could this be payback?

Update: I should add that we don’t have to actually expect them to get to 100 regional jets in 5 years. That’s a lot of scaling to do. A lot of Dallas maintenance workers to hire away from American (and Southwest). A lot of new stations to open. And if they base those regional jets in Dallas they’re going to have a tough time finding gates, and they’d be taking on American with pretty high cost aircraft. So I start off pretty skeptical of the plan. Maybe the memory of Atlantic Coast Airlines (which would have had lower seat costs) looms to fresh in my mind. Still, it intrigues..

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. i think you might be over-stating their impact here

    if you look at their route map and schedule of the public charter subsidiary jetSuiteX (not the parent), it’s essentially catering to the Beverly Hills / Bel Air / Malibu jetsetting crowd and getting them to partying in Vegas, skiing in Mammoth, or whatever-theyre-doing at Coachella when they have spare capacity after catering to the business crowd during weekdays.

    no offense to dallas or any other metro, but there are essentially only 2 cities with a high concentration of this type of traveler – LA and Miami. Even NYC or SF doesn’t have sufficient numbers of this really niche type of traveler.

    If they’re relocated to Dallas purely for tax purposes, good for them. A handful of business-oriented routes will definitely work. But if they’re intending to uproot their entire Burbank presence and try to run the same type of routes out of DFW, all i can say is goooooood luck.

  2. I wish QR had bought into AA. Maybe they could have helped install a better board that would install a management team that understands the concept of making your product attractive to customers instead of relying on a lack of competition.

  3. Qatar should give the US airlines a run and teach them how to take care of the customer. US airlines are all hype and no substance. They are holding us hostage.

  4. “And if they base those regional jets in Dallas they’re going to have a tough time finding gates, …”

    Nonsense, DFW is empty.

  5. A drop in the bucket. Here are the number of passengers per gate per year by terminal and the number of gates per terminal (from https://www.dfwairport.com/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/webasset/p2_901406.pdf).

    Terminal 1000 pass/gate gates in terminal
    per year
    (by terminal)
    A: 653k 26
    B: 191k 47
    C: 640k 28
    D: 357k 28
    E: 250k 36

    Estimate capacity by expanding each empty terminal’s use to the gate usage of terminal A…
    Extra annual passengers by terminal…
    B: 47 * (653-191) = 22m
    D: 28 * (653 – 357) = 8m
    E: 36 * (653-250) = 15m
    ———–
    Extra pass/year DFW = 45m

    New Carrier
    “Leff Air” (slogan ‘Don’t Get Left At The Gate!’):
    100 reg. planes * 50pass/plane * 4 turns/day * 356 days = 7.1m pass year

    Pick your terminal…

  6. @Gary: BTW: This lamentable web site software corrupted the layout first table. Do you still follow it?

  7. @Gary: Several times over…

    Terminal 1000 pass/gate Gates
    per year in terminal
    A: 653k 26
    B: 191k 47
    C: 640k 28
    D: 357k 28
    E: 250k 36

    Estimate capacity by expanding each terminal’s use to the gate usage of terminal A…
    Extra annual passengers by terminal…
    B: 47 * (653-191) = 22m
    D: 28 * (653 – 357) = 8m
    E: 36 * (653-250) = 15m

    Extra pass/year DFW = 45m

    Leff Air (slogan ‘Don’t Get Left At The Gate!’):
    100 planes * 50pass/plane * 4 turns/day * 356 days = 7.1m pass year

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