BA eyes stake in Indian carrier if FDI rules tweaked | india | Hindustan Times
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BA eyes stake in Indian carrier if FDI rules tweaked

india Updated: Mar 24, 2011 22:07 IST
Tushar Srivastava
Tushar Srivastava
Hindustan Times
Tushar Srivastava

British Airways has said it would be interested in investing in an Indian carrier, were the government to change rules to allow foreign airlines to invest in India.

"If the possibility arises, I am sure we would be interested but I am not sure which airlines. As a region it's certainly a good one to invest in," said Judy Jarvis, British Airways (BA) Regional Commercial Manager for South Asia in an interview with the Hindustan Times at the airline's headquarters here.

"International Airlines Group (IAG) - the holding company of BA and Iberia - has made no secret of the fact that they would be very keen on an acquisition on a global scale. Asia is a key region and South Asia probably also," she said.

India is an important market for them, Jarvis said. "In terms of number of flights and size of operations, it's the second biggest after the US, as a country. We have 45 flights a week, and that's quite a lot compared to other areas that we fly to."

The code share with Kingfisher, she said, had given British Airlines a "bigger footprint" in India and they were very happy with the relationship. "We already fly to five cities in India and with Kingfisher as our code-share partner we have added five cities to our network, and Sri Lanka as well. It gives us a much bigger footprint."

On the choice of Kingfisher over carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet, which are both making money and have a growing market share, for the oneworld alliance, Jarvis said BA was not the arbiter on who joins oneworld. "Oneworld has a very strict criteria and they want to look at the type of carrier chosen. We would like an airline that has similar values to us, similar customer proposition and BA and oneworld are quite pleased that Kingfisher fits this model."

(The writer's travel and stay were sponsored by British Airways)