Billionaire Warren Buffett has changed his mind about airlines.
On Monday, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed it has made significant investments in the nation’s three largest carriers: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Continental.
In its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Berkshire Hathaway said it owned 21.7 million shares of Fort Worth-based American (ticker: AAL) worth about $797 million as of Sept. 30. Based on Monday’s closing price of $43.40, the investment is currently worth $944.8 million.
American said the carrier welcomed the billionaire’s investment, saying it validates its plan to improve the customer experience for passengers.
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“This investment further reinforces our view that our industry has fundamentally changed in a profound and lasting way, and we know delivering long-term financial success will provide continued evidence of this fact,” the airline said in a statement.
Berkshire Hathaway also holds 6.3 million shares of Delta and 4.3 million shares of United, worth $249.3 million and $237.8 million respectively as of Sept. 30.
“Delta welcomes new investors as we continue to build a model for sustainable, long-term success as a high-quality global company that consistently produces solid returns,” the Atlanta-based carrier said in a statement.
Buffett long had a distaste for airline stocks stemming from his $358 million investment in USAir preferred stock in 1989 which performed poorly for years. He did sell the investment in 1998 for a “hefty gain” and the airline filed for bankruptcy twice after that, eventually merging with America West Airlines in 2005. and later American.