Why did the Qantas share price struggle in April?

The airline operator's stock closed April lower despite achieving a new multi-year high.

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Key points

  • The Qantas share price slumped 0.3% in April, closing the month at $6.60
  • Meanwhile, the company's planned acquisition of Alliance Aviation Services was shot down by regulators 
  • The ACCC denied the merger on competition concerns

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price hit turbulence in April, surging to a new 52-week high before slumping to close the month lower than it started it.

Stock in the national carrier closed March trading at $6.62 before leaping to its highest point since the onset of the pandemic – reaching $6.94 on 5 April.

Then it plunged to a low of $6.25 a little over a week later and ended the month trading at $6.60. That marked a 0.3% fall over the 30-day period.

For comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) rose 1.83% last month to recover all its March losses.

So, why did the Qantas share price experience headwinds in April? Let's take a look.

Qantas stock struggles in April

Last month was a relatively quiet one for Qantas. Though, there was one announcement with the potential to shift its share price – and it was likely a disappointing one for the airline's fans.

Qantas' long-standing plan to acquire charter airline Alliance Aviation Services Ltd (ASX: AQZ) was knocked back by regulators, citing competition concerns.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the takeover – which valued Alliance at $919.2 million on an enterprise basis – would likely reduce competition in the supply of air transport services to the resource industry.

ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the role the airlines play for fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers is "an essential service" for an "important part of the Australian economy", continuing:

It is critical that competition in this market is protected.

Qantas quickly queried the regulator's findings, announcing its intent to seek more information on the decision, saying:

Qantas remains confident the acquisition would not substantially lessen competition in any market.

Though, the ACCC did provide the airline with a win last month.

It re-authorised Qantas and Jetstar to coordinate with two Jetstar Asian-based joint ventures and, conditionally, for Jetstar Japan to coordinate with Japan Airlines until 2028.

Qantas share price snapshot

Fortunately, its lacklustre April wasn't enough to send the Qantas share price into the longer-term red.

The stock is 9% higher than it was at the start of 2023. It has also gained 12% since this time last year.

Meanwhile, the ASX 200 is currently 3% higher year to date but has fallen 2% over the last 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alliance Aviation Services. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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