On 28 December, Qatar Airways, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Qatar Airways Investments, completed the acquisition of 10% of Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group, reaching a total of almost 61 million shares at a price of US$10 per share. The two carriers already cooperate as members of the oneworld alliance, and whether the acquisition of the stake will lead to any changes at the operational level remains to be seen.
What is interesting is that Qatar is, in many ways, going in the opposite direction to neighbor and competitor Etihad Airways. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has been widely reported to have suffered losses of as much as US$2.6 billion as a result of its years-long stake-acquisition binge. Both it and Dubai-based Emirates have announced significant job cuts – in Etihad’s case reportedly to include CEO James Hogan. And, on the cargo side of their operations, both Etihad and Emirates have seen once-phenomenal demand growth slow to almost nothing.
Contrast this with Qatar Airways, where year-over-year cargo volume growth is well into double-digits, and the carrier has just acquired the significant stake in LATAM.