QATAR AIR INTERESTED IN BUYING STAKE IN INDIGO, NOT AIR INDIA
Gulf major Qatar Airways, is not interested in buying a stake in India’s national carrier
Air India, which will be up for sale soon. The airline neither sees any synergy with
Air India’s operations, nor believes that acquiring the airline will help it to boost its operations in India. “No! We are not interested in Air India,” Akbar Al-Baker,
CEO of Qatar Airways, replied to a question on the airline’s interest in Air India.Al Baker, however, reiterated his interest in buying a stake in IndiGo. “We are only interested in IndiGo,” he said to a follow-up question on the airline’s interest in inorganic growth opportunities in India.The government is brainstorming to make the sale of Air India a success after a failed attempt last year. The government this time has decided to sell 100 per cent of the airline and pass on only about half the total debt to the buyer.
Attracted by the Indian market’s exponential growth, Al Baker had earlier expressed desire to start an airline out of the country. However, he blamed restrictive rules of India as the reason for not going ahead with his plans. “India has one of the most restrictive markets. It should look at further opening the aviation sector in favour of economic growth and to enhance employment,” he said. India doesn’t permit a foreign airline to hold more than 49 per cent stake in indigenous airlines which is according to the Substantial Ownership and Effective Control Norms of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Qatar Airways’ growth in India has suffered as the country has been reluctant towards increasing flying rights to the gulf nation.