Qatar Airways keen to partner when India's IndiGo goes long haul

Indigo's board will be meeting on May 7 to consider raising funds through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) of shares

  
A Qatar Airways plane takes off at Hamad International Airport, as the country resumes international flights to Saudi Arabia, in Doha, Qatar January 11, 2021.

A Qatar Airways plane takes off at Hamad International Airport, as the country resumes international flights to Saudi Arabia, in Doha, Qatar January 11, 2021.

REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

Qatar Airways is training its sights on India's huge aviation market.

In an interview with the Times of India (ToI), Al Baker said the Gulf Carrier is ready to partner with Rahul Bhatia’s IndiGo when the latter decides to go long haul.

"Rahul Bhatia has been operating a very successful company. They are the best-run, very efficient and the largest Indian carrier. I am sure that sooner or later Mr Bhatia [will] decide that he would like to go long haul. We are always ready to partner with an individual who has the same mindset as us," the Indian daily quoted Al Baker as saying.

As the pandemic ravaged the Indian aviation industry, cash-rich Qatar Airways recieved requests for funding from Indian carriers.

Al Baker was quoted as saying that Qatar Airways had been approached by bankers during the pandemic on behalf of Indian carriers seeking partnerships through stake sale or funding. "Indigo didn't approach us because they don't need to, as they are a very efficiently run organisation,"  he added.

However, Indigo's board will be meeting on May 7 to consider raising funds through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) of shares. The travel and aviation industry in the country has taken a huge hit after the catastrophic second wave of COVID-19 infections. The airline has not mentioned how much it seeks to raise via QIP

Al Baker also said that four years back the Gulf carrier was interested in partnering with Ratan Tata to jointly bid for Air India (AI). "At that time he was not interested because they were already partner with Vistara and AirAsia. He at that time did not think of investing in AI. If Tata would have agreed to partner with us, we would have bid for AI that time," he said.

(Reporting by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)

(seban.scaria@refinitiv.com)

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