Qatar Air seeks more flights into India – CEO

Doha-based operator wants more traffic routes to serve tier-two cities - report

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways is seeking more traffic routes to serve tier-two cities in India, the airline’s CEO was quoted as saying.

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Akbar Al Baker said that the Doha-based carrier had exhausted all of the routes it was currently allotted by the country’s government. The airline currently serves destinations including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

"We hope Indian Civil Aviation authorities will give additional access to other Gulf carriers in India and if that happens we would like to operate more flights,” Al Baker told the news agency.

However, Al Baker reasserted that his airline had no plans to follow rival Etihad Airways’ lead and invest directly in an India-based carrier. Last month, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad tied up a $379m deal for a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways, India’s second biggest operator.

It was earlier this month reported that Qatar Airways was seeking to acquire a shareholding in low cost carrier GoAir.

"We are only requesting the government of India to give us additional flying rights taking into consideration the growing air traffic and have no other plans in that country," Al Baker said.

The Press Trust said that Gulf carriers including Qatar Airways, Etihad and Air Arabia were all requesting additional capacity to fly into the country, which is home to 1.3bn people and a huge domestic travel market. It said that Dubai’s Emirates Airline had also reissued its request for permission to fly the A380 superjumbo into the country.

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