Qatar Airways has said it is interested in buying a stake in IndiGo, India’s largest domestic carrier by market share.
“We would be very interested in IndiGo if there’s something available there,” Qatar Airways’ chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker was quoted as having said by Reuters news agency while addressing a conference in Dubai. “But the airline is performing very well so I don’t think they would be interested.”
Gurgaon-based budget carrier, IndiGo, declined to comment on Baker’s remarks. “They (Qatar) have made similar statements before,” an IndiGo official said.
The unlisted IndiGo has reported profits for five years in a row. The no-frills carrier reported a profit of 516% rise in its net profit to Rs. 787 crore for fiscal 2012-13 compared to Rs. 128 crore in the last fiscal. Its consolidated profits for last 5 years have reached Rs. 2,200 crore against an industry accumulated loss of Rs. 46,000 crore plus.
Baker also said on Monday that Qatar Airways has become 100% state-owned after the government bought out private investors, including a former prime minister.
In September 2012, the government changed rules permitting foreign airlines to pick up to 49% stake in domestic carriers. Following this, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways picked a 24% stake in Jet Airways in April last year for Rs. 2,058 crore. Tata Group has announced a joint venture with Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia to launch a low cost passenger airline and another JV with Singapore Airlines to start a full-service carrier.
Meanwhile, continuing his tirade against the proposed carriers AirAsia India and Tata-SIA Airlines, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has urged Election Commission to restrain aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from giving flying licenses to them till a new government takes over.
(With inputs from agencies)