Qatar Airways interested in buying stake in IndiGo, not Air India
PTI November 7, 2019
Qatar Airways has no interest in buying a stake in Air India, its CEO said on Thursday as the government plans roadshows in Singapore and London to entice investors for the Indian national carrier's disinvestment.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker added that he is interested in buying a stake in IndiGo but this is not the right time as issues among its promoters are yet to be resolved.
The differences between IndiGo promoters Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal came to the fore in July after the latter sought market regulator Sebi's intervention to address alleged corporate governance lapses at the company.
While the Centre is planning to invite bids for the national carrier next month, its employee unions on Wednesday decided to oppose the disinvestment process as there is no clarity regarding salary arrears and pensions.
Air India is sitting on a debt pile of around Rs 58,000 crore, besides huge accumulated losses running into thousands of crores.
IndiGo on Thursday signed a one-way codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, where the latter will be able to book seats on the former's flights on certain specific destinations.
Baker, when asked if he is interested in purchasing Air India, replied: "No. We are only interested in IndiGo."
He added, "We have no interest in buying stake in Air India. We are interested in buying stake in IndiGo, but this is not the right time as issues among promoters are yet to be resolved."
Baker said, "I know there are some disagreements within the airline between the stakeholders so we would not like to comment on our future plans with IndiGo until these issues are resolved".
With around 48 per cent share in domestic air passenger market, IndiGo is India's largest airline.
Bhatia, his relatives, and his family company own around 38 per cent of the low-cost carrier while Gangwal, his relatives, and his family trust own around 37 per cent.
Bhatia last month filed petitions in US courts seeking evidence from Gangwal and InterGlobe Aviation's independent director Anupam Khanna.