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IndiGo on Qatar radar

IN FOCUS

New Delhi, May 5: Qatar Airways is keen to acquire a stake in India’s largest low-cost carrier IndiGo Airlines.

Qatar’s move can spark action in aviation, which has been lying dormant since the Jet-Etihad deal, and increase competition, bringing more offers to flyers.

Akbar al Baker, chief executive officer (CEO) of the flag carrier of Qatar, was quoted by agencies as saying that the airline was interested in buying a stake in IndiGo.

“We are always open to opportunities in India,” he said.

“We would be very interested in IndiGo if there’s something available there. But the airline is performing very well so I don’t think they would be interested.”

Last year, al Baker had said that it was in talks with IndiGo Airlines for a code-share alliance but nothing materialised.

Sources at IndiGo, however, denied any talks with Qatar Airways, which is now fully owned by the government after the country’s sovereign fund bought a 50 per cent stake.

The airline was previously owned by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al Thani, who was also a former foreign minister, and some other shareholders.

Al Baker said Qatar Airways may look at buying Airbus A380 planes.

The airline has also begun a weekly freighter service from Delhi to Doha to fly cargo, including electronic goods and pharma products.

“After the launch of our service in Hyderabad in April, we are delighted to start our scheduled freighter service to Delhi this month. Delhi has one of India’s largest and fastest growing retail industries (and)....is an important commercial capital in Asia,” the cargo carrier’s chief executive officer Ulrich Ogiermann said.

Jet deal

A change of government in India will not affect Etihad’s equity holdings in Jet Airways, the chief of the Gulf carrier has said, expressing “full confidence in the Indian process”.

“This isn’t a political issue. We have entered into a partnership with a great Indian company,” Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said.

“We have from day one worked through the proper process and have full confidence in the Indian process,” Hogan said.

Meanwhile, low-cost airline “flydubai” will start its flights from Dubai to three more Indian cities, including Delhi, from next month, doubling the number of destinations in India.

flydubai will start flights to Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Delhi from Dubai, taking its services to six Indian cities, airline chief executive officer Gaith al Gaith said.

SpiceJet offer

SpiceJet today announced a voucher programme to compensate passengers if the airline flies behind schedule.

“In line with our ‘on-time guarantee’ concept we have come with a programme wherein we guarantee to compensate passengers in case of a flight delay and cancellation due to reasons within SpiceJet’s control,” the airline said in a statement.

 
 
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