Flydubai open to investing in 'efficient' Indian carrier

Dubai-based low-cost carrier Flydubai on Monday said it was open to investing in an ''efficient Indian airline''. The carrier said it currently does not have the mandate to expand inorganically, but can go back to seek shareholders' approval if a good opportunity arises.

''We do not have any mandate to go outside right now. But we have dialogue with Indian airlines all the time. If we find a good opportunity, we will consider it. We will then go and seek approval from the shareholders,'' said Flydubai chief executive officer Ghaith Al Ghaith.

A large number of global airlines have shown interest in Indian carriers after the government allowed foreign airlines to pick up to 49 per cent stake in Indian carriers in September 2012.

Since the relaxation in FDI norms, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has checked in with a 24 per cent stake in Naresh-Goyal-promoted Jet Airways. AirAsia India and Tata-SIA Airlines too have been registered and are to take to skies shortly. While SpiceJet and GoAir are scouting for strategic investors to infuse cash in their respective airlines, Qatar announced interest to pick up stake in the country's largest budget carrier IndiGo.

Flydubai, which commenced operations in June 2009, has grown to have a fleet of 37 aircraft over the last five years. The airline is now working towards consolidating and expanding its position. In India, the airline only recently added 10 new weekly frequencies. Flydubai added four new flights to Delhi and three weekly flights each to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram this month. The no-frills carrier currently connects six airports, including smaller towns like Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kochi and Lucknow.

The Dubai carrier is currently utilising 3,000 seats per week to India out of the total of 5,000 seats allotted to the airline till the summer schedule of 2015.