Etihad, Qatar Airways in talks for minority stake in SpiceJet

Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are in talks to acquire a minority stake in low-cost Indian carrier SpiceJet, the Business Standard today reported, citing sources familiar with the development.

The move comes as the Indian government is mulling thee proposal to allow overseas airlines to invest in domestic carriers.

When asked about the potential deal, a SpiceJet spokesperson told the paper, ''Some foreign carriers have expressed interest in picking up a stake in SpiceJet if there would be a change at the policy level by the government. Various investors have approached SpiceJet and we are in talks with them. As of now, we have not finalised any deal but if everything goes well, we may enter into a mutually beneficial deal.''

Although foreign investors can invest up to 49 per cent in Indian carriers, the Indian government has banned foreign airlines from investing.  

With 41 planes, SpiceJet operates more than 275 daily flights to 34 Indian cities and 3 international routes - Delhi-Kathmandu, Chennai-Colombo and to Dubai from Mumbai and Delhi.

Apart from its existing 34 Boeing 737s, it recently acquired seven new Bombardier Q400 aircrafts for enhancing connectivity to Tier II and Tier III cities.

SpiceJet, in which, Sun TV promoter Kalanithi Maran holds nearly 49 per cent stake, had posted loss of Rs605 crore in last fiscal, compared to a net profit of Rs101 crore in 2010.