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Mon 30 Nov 2015 09:18 AM

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Gulf airlines in talks for a stake in India’s SpiceJet

Indian budget airline's chairman says "there is some dialogue which is ongoing" with unnamed regional airlines

Gulf airlines in talks for a stake in India’s SpiceJet
SpiceJet (Getty Images)

Gulf carriers have expressed an interest in acquiring a stake in Indian budget airline
SpiceJet, its chairman revealed in Dubai on Sunday.

“Some of the
Gulf airlines have expressed an interest in SpiceJet as we have come back into
the market, but this is not the right time to be diluting the equity,” chairman
Ajay Singh was quoted as saying by Bloomberg, without naming the companies.

“There is some
dialogue which is ongoing and we continue to explore other types of
relationships we could have.”

Gulf carriers
already have relationships with Indian carriers. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways bought
a 24 percent stake in Jet Airways in 2013 and Qatar Airways said recently it
would be interested in buying a 49 percent stake in Indian budget carrier
IndiGo.

In 2013, reports
in India claimed
Dubai’s Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Kuwait Airways had
all held talks with SpiceJet about a possible stake sale.

The same year, Emirates
president Sir Tim Clark admitted in an interview the Dubai carrier had looked
into the possibility of investing in India’s aviation sector. “I have never
said no. Of course, we have looked at this. The Indian aviation market is a big
cake and Etihad had got a piece, but at least three quarters of the cake is
still there, uneaten,” he told Business Line.

On Sunday, SpiceJet
also announced it plans to order more than 150 planes in the current financial
year. "We are in the process of placing a large aircraft order. The
airline will order in excess of 150 planes - we hope to do that in this
financial year," Singh told reporters.

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