Qatar Air in partnership talks with India's IndiGo

Gulf carrier's senior execs in discussions about a codesharing agreement with budget flier
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar al-Baker. (AFP/Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Thu 09 May 2013 08:29 AM

Qatar Airways in is talks with Indian budget carrier IndiGo for a codesharing agreement, CEO Akbar Al Baker has said.

He denied the Gulf carrier is interesting in buying a stake in an Indian carrier dismissing such rumours as the work of “rogue dealer” looking to boost their share prices.

“We are talking to IndiGo to see how we can strike a relationship with them. IndiGo is an airline that is not for sale. We only want to do a codeshare partnership with them,” Al Baker told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

“There is already an approach between the management of the two airlines. We want to get into a situation where we work together because they are the best airline in India today. I am in touch with IndiGo’s co-founder Rahul Bhatia. And we hope that we will be doing this soon,” he added.

While Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways recently bought a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways, Al Baker said he is not interested in anything more than a codesharing partnership. “I don’t have so much money to buy stakes in airlines,” he claimed.

Al Baker reiterated his denial of any interest in SpiceJet and said he be believed the ongoing rumours are just tactical moves by the airlines to boost their share prices.

“You know there are always rumours. Around six months ago I did a statement to the press not to believe such rumours as the shareholders deliberately put out such rumours to boost share prices.

“There is an airline that made an announcement about Qatar Airways interest in them and this boosted their share price by seven percent. There was another airline that mentioned this and it had an impact of nearly 11 percent on their share price. These are being used by certain rouge dealers to maximise their profit.”

A recent report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), an international global aviation consulting firm, said Gulf carriers are likely to seek permission for more than 150,000 more seats a week in capacity from the Indian government.

However, Al Baker said Qatar Airways has “not asked for any [additional] seats into the Indian market” and said the carrier is “operating within our capacity.” Qatar Airways operates 95 flights to 12 Indian cities.

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