Several major international airlines seem to be wary of picking up stakes in the loss-making Indian carriers at this stage, even as the government plans to take steps to allow them to do so.
Even before the government formally notified changes in the aviation policy that currently bars foreign carriers from investing in Indian airlines, officials and spokespersons of major international airlines have said they were not interested in investing in the Indian aviation market.
While a few airlines like Qatar Airways and Air Asia evinced some interest, carriers like Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and Emirates said they were not interested. “We are focussed on growing our business out of Delhi to London Heathrow and New York and as such we are not interested in investing in India’s domestic carriers,” Edmond Rose, Director Commercial and Revenue Planning of Virgin Atlantic, said in a statement when asked whether they would like to invest in any Indian carrier.
Emirates Senior Vice President Commercial Operations (West Asia and Indian Ocean) Majid al Mualla said, “Emirates has no plans to acquire a stake in another airline in India or anywhere else. We are busy focusing on many aspects of our own growth including the launch of flights to five new destinations in as many months.” Echoing similar views, a Lufthansa spokesperson said the airline currently has no plans to take up equity stakes in any Indian airline.
Our strategy to achieve a strong presence in India is working. A spokesperson of the International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, said, “The process to allow foreign airlines to invest in Indian carriers has not yet been fully approved. So it would be wrong to speculate about IAG’s interest in any Indian airlines at this stage.”
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