By Staff writer
Akbar Al Baker criticises Indian government over lack of bilateral agreemetns for Qatar
Qatar Airways has said it remains interesting in acquiring a stake in Indian carrier IndiGo, according to the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Speaking at India Aviation, Al Baker said Qatar attempted to invest at the time of IndiGo’s IPO but government regulations and lack of time prevented the country’s sovereign wealth fund from doing so.
“We had to do it with our parent company, and our parent organisation, which is our sovereign fund, and to do that, we needed more time and the time was too short for us to move on this,” Al Baker told local media.
Qatar has been linked with investments in various Indian carriers in recent years, including Kingfisher, GoAir and Spicejet. The only real concrete interest for the Doha-based carrier has been IndiGo, the country’s largest and most profitable airline, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd`
“If they are interested, Qatar Airways will be very interested,” Al Baker said. “I cannot force IndiGo promoters to sell stake,” he added.
Al Baker also criticised the Indian government authorities over the lack of bilaterals agreements given to Qatar, despite similar systems given to other Gulf countries.
“We have been asking the Indian government to open talks with Qatar for the last seven years. The last bilateral we had was in 2009. And in my opinion I think my country is unfairly treated by the authorities here because subsequent to Qatar's last bilaterals, many bilaterals have taken place with GCC airlines but not with Qatar," Al Baker said.
India’s Economic Times reports that Qatar Airways is currently entitled to the airline 24,292 seats a week compared with Emirates' 64,200 and Etihad's about 50,000 seats.