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October 09, 2012

British Airways CEO reiterates his willingness to invest in American

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh reaffirmed his carrier's willingness to take an equity stake in American Airlines if it helps the bankrupt carrier.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Walsh said his company was prepared to purchase a minority stake, if American's chief executive Tom Horton asks.

AP reporter Scott Mayerowitz writes:

"If American asks for it, I think that would be a big step," said Willie Walsh, CEO of International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways and Iberia. He noted that American doesn’t necessarily need the money but his company would invest to help cement their existing partnership.

"We think an investment in a restructured American will be a good investment. That’s why we said we’d be very happy to look at it if the opportunity presented itself and if Tom welcomed it," Walsh said. Foreign investors are prohibited from owning more than 25 percent of a U.S. airline.

"We’ve never put a figure on it but I can’t see anything above 10 percent to be honest with you," Walsh said. "But again I’m speculating because we haven’t done any formal analysis. But we’re not looking for a significant minority stake."

-Andrea Ahles


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Alex in TX

This makes a lot more sense than Richard Branson's comments, but still runs up against the U.S. government's foreign ownership restrictions.

Seems to me that we are hobbling ourselves from competing in what is a global marketplace. It's time to change those laws.

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