The Telegraph
Saturday , May 24 , 2014
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SpiceJet seeks nod for Qatar flight

New Delhi, May 23: SpiceJet has applied to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to fly 7,000 passengers per week to Qatar.

However, the Kalanithi Maran-led airline denied rumours that it was in talks with Qatar Airways for a stake sale.

SpiceJet said it planned to add a number of international destinations in the next few months. Chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor said the airline had applied to the DGCA for rights to fly 7,000 passengers a week to Doha, which is the capital of Qatar. At present, the airline flies to Dubai, Sharjah and Muscat in the Gulf region.

“We plan to fly to Doha. Also on the international operations front, we are considering flying to Dhaka soon and are likely to add more flights to Dubai when repair works being carried out on the runways there are over,” Kapoor said.

He said SpiceJet was looking to increase its flight frequency to Kabul and resuming flights to Bangkok once the political situation improves there. “Down the road, flights are also being considered for Hong Kong but we will review that again. We are also planning to increase the frequency of flights in the domestic market over the next few months,” he added.

Kapoor, however, denied reports of SpiceJet selling its overseas slots to Qatar Airways.

“This is completely baseless,” he said. In a filing with the BSE, SpiceJet said, “It (SpiceJet) denies having any discussion with Qatar Airways for the sale of overseas slots, as reported. We also confirm that there is no truth whatsoever in the scheduling of a meeting to discuss investment plans with Qatar Airways.”

SpiceJet has been seeking FDI since the government allowed foreign airlines to pick up stakes of up to 49 per cent in local carriers in September 2012.

In the last two years, there have been reports of SpiceJet being in talks with airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways for FDI deals but nothing materialised.

Kapoor said the airline was in advanced talks with strategic investors. “We have been in discussions with investors and when the time is right we will take a decision,” he said without divulging the names of the investors.

He said a few investors had evinced interest in the company and the promoters were pumping in money into the airline. According to a recent report by Sydney-based aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, SpiceJet requires at least Rs 1,200 crore to stay afloat.

The SpiceJet scrip today rose 12.83 per cent to close at Rs 21.10 on the BSE.