Two big Gulf airlines have approached Ajay Singh-promoted SpiceJet for buying a stake in the airline. These include a full-service carrier and a budget airline, sources told HT.
Senior SpiceJet officials have held multiple meetings, both in India and abroad, with representatives of the two airlines, they added.
“Yes, we have been approached by some airlines for a strategic partnership in the past. Beyond this, we cannot share anything at the moment,” said Ajay Jasra, general manager, corporate affairs, SpiceJet.
From staring at a shutdown in December last year, when it had to temporarily suspend flights, the airline has undergone quite a transformation under Singh, who bought out Kalanithi Maran’s stake in January 2015.
“SpiceJet’s turnaround is work in progress and dependent on critical issues such as recapitalisation and executional ability, but the return to stability under the new promoter has been remarkable,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
After seven quarters of losses, SpiceJet reported a Rs 22.5-crore profit during the January-March quarter. “I see modest profitability in April-June quarter,” Kaul added.
Sources said Singh, who has already infused about Rs 800 crore into the airline, may be in no hurry to get an investor on board unless he is offered the right valuation. “Financially things have gone quite well. There would be new funding targeted at the growth of SpiceJet rather than trying to fund the losses, which SpiceJet simply doesn’t have at this time,” Singh had told HT in an interview last month.
“Interest from Gulf carriers is unlikely as the other two from the Big 3 (Emirates and Qatar) don’t seem to be interested but some low-cost carriers from the region have interest as bilaterals are capped,” Kaul said.