IndiGo, Qatar Airways likely bid for Air India
21 March 2018
IndiGo and Qatar Airways are expected to make a joint bid for state-owned carrier Air India, according to media reports.
However, both airlines are currently facing problems that could delay any bold forays relating to the acquisition of Air India.
IndiGo has had to withdraw dozens of flights after the airline was forced to ground 11 Airbus 320 Neo aircraft by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (See: IndiGo’s problems worsen – 5 aircraft grounded in 24 hours), while the Qatari airline was banned from operating flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and some other parts of the Gulf.
The Indian government wants to sell off a majority stake in the loss-making carrier Air India, which has debt adding up to more than Rs50,000 crore. The government is shortly expected to seek preliminary interest memorandum (PIM) and expression of interest (EoI) from interest parties wanting to acquire controlling stake in the airline.
The government also wants bidders to have a net worth of Rs1,000 crore to rule out small operators from bidding for a stake. Even after privatisation of the airline, the government hopes to retain a 24 per cent stake in it.
IndiGo has already shown interest in buying the overseas operations of Air India. Interestingly, Qatar Airways had in the past shown interest in acquiring a stake in IndiGo, but the Indian carrier had rejected the offer.
Other airlines that are seen to have shown an interest in Air India include Jet Airways in a consortium along with Air France-KLM and Delta, (See: Jet Air, SpiceJet may join race to acquire segments of Air India) and Singapore Airlines, which operates Vistara, a domestic carrier in India, along with the Tata group.