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Jet, Kingfisher stay away from SriLankan

Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines say they are not interested in picking up Emirates Airlines' stake in Sri Lanka's national carrier SriLankan Airlines, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2008 22:39 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times

India's Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines said they were not interested in picking up Emirates Airlines' stake in Sri Lanka's national carrier SriLankan Airlines.

"We have not heard any thing regarding that (buying Emirates' stake in SriLankan). We have our own international expansion plans and we don't see any sense in investing in SriLankan," said a senior Jet Airways executive adding, "Our hands are full."

Similarly, Kingfisher Airlines Chairman and CEO Vijay Mallya replied in the negative when asked whether he would be interested in investing in SriLankan. "I am not interested. I always go for majority control in any acquisition," Mallya told reporters on the sidelines of the Force India Formula One press conference. He added, "Kingfisher Airlines and Deccan will fly international and preparations are on. We are more focused on that."

This is contrary to media reports from Colombo and Dubai, which last week indicated that Qatar Airways, Jet and Kingfisher were in the race to pick up a stake in SriLankan after Emirates decided to end a 10-year management contract in March.

Emirates' nearly 44 per cent stake in SriLankan is valued at $150 million. In 1998, Emirates invested $70 million when SriLankan, then called Air Lanka, was privatised. Last week, the Sri Lankan government decided not to privatise the airline and run it on its own.

Starting August 15, Kingfisher Airlines would fly to San Francisco and New York, its executives said. Then it will open routes to Europe.

Deccan will also be flying into West Asia East and South East Asian destinations.