American Airlines CEO says Qatar proposal makes no sense

Key Points
  • Qatar Airways has expressed intent to take a 10 percent stake in American Airlines.
  • American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said the offer "makes no sense."
  • The U.S. airline's board has not yet received a formal offer from Qatar.
American Airline CEO: Qatar offer misguided, ill-conceived

American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker is blunt about how he views Qatar Airways proposal to buy up to ten percent of his airline.

"It makes no sense," Parker told CNBC.

The suggestion of Qatar taking a stake in American was first raised by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker two weeks ago when he approached Parker at an industry conference in Cancun, Mexico.

What was Parker's reaction?

"I found it confusing. I was a little bewildered," he said. "Why an airline we are aggressively fighting would want to take a stake makes no sense."

Parker's feeling has been echoed throughout the airline industry and on Wall Street.

"We don't see it happening," Hunter Keay, airline analyst for Wolfe Research, wrote in a note sent to clients. "All else equal, we see a remote chance of this going forward."

American's board has yet to receive a formal notice from Qatar that it intends to buy up to 10 percent of the U.S. airline's outstanding shares. Any purchase of more than 4.75 percent of the airline must get the board's approval.

Parker says he has not been given a reason why Qatar is interested in becoming a large, but passive investor in his airline.

Some have suggested Akbar Al Baker is trying to soften American's lobbying in Washington. Over the last couple of years, American, United and Delta have been pushing regulators stop Persian Gulf Carriers from expanding into the U.S., arguing the gulf carriers are illegally subsidized by the governments where they are based.

Would that change if Qatar owned a piece of American?

"If that is their motivation, it is misguided and ill conceived," said Parker. "All this is doing is strengthening our resolve to defend our airline, which we will continue doing vigorously."

By CNBC's Phil LeBeau; Follow him on Twitter: @Lebeaucarnews

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