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Fri 23 Mar 2012 09:37 AM

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Emirates chief says 'open' to Indian investments

Sheikh Ahmed meets aviation minister as India mulls plan to allow foreign airlines to invest

Emirates chief says 'open' to Indian investments
Emirates chief says 'open' to Indian investments
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Group

Dubai-based Emirates has said it is "open" to investing in India as the government actively considers allowing foreign airlines to pick up equity in an Indian carrier.

"I am not talking specifically about Kingfisher Airlines ... (but) am open to investment," chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airlines Group, Sheikh Ahmed Saeed Al Maktoum, said after a meeting with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Reuters reported.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has previously said the government was "actively considering" allowing foreign airlines to acquire a 49 per cent stake in domestic airlines.

Asked whether the issue of allowing more flights between the two countries was discussed, Sheikh Ahmed said in comments published by India's Economic Times that he felt there was a lot of scope in allowing more flights into India.

"It will help the economy of both countries," he was quoted as saying.

Although the issue of allowing Emirates airlines to operate the superjumbo Airbus A380 to India was not discussed, Sheikh Ahmed said "obviously" his airline wanted to see the A380 operating to India.

Currently, the Indian government does not allow Emirates or any international airline to operate the A380 aircraft on grounds that it would take away passenger traffic from India at the cost of Indian carriers.

Apart from the Emirates, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines are also pitching for operating A380s to India.

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