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..