Spicejet approached by Gulf-based and Southeast Asian airlines

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Airlines, Asia, India, Middle East
Tags: , , , , ,

DUBAI: Spicejet has been approached by several Gulf-based and Southeast Asian airlines but will not jump into negotiations before the government reaches a crucial decision on foreign investment, its chief executive said on Wednesday. 

"We have been approached by several Gulf and Southeast Asian airlines, all on a tentative basis,"

"We have been approached by several Gulf and Southeast Asian airlines, all on a tentative basis,"

“We have been approached by several Gulf and Southeast Asian airlines, all on a tentative basis,” Neil Mills, the loss-making budget carrier’s chief executive, told Reuters.

India allows up to 49 percent foreign investment in Indian carriers but bars foreign carriers from picking up stakes. But with most carriers suffering losses, the government is now mulling allowing foreign airlines to invest directly.

India’s cabinet is expected to make a decision on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules this week.

“There is nothing more serious than tentative talks to see if we are interested. We have said that we are interested in exploring any option for us that makes business sense but until a decision has been taken on FDI there is no point in taking it further,” Mills said in a telephone interview.

“Once we get regulatory confirmation in place then we can see whether it makes sense to look at alternative funding options. We are just talking about a concept until the law is amended.”

He declined to name any of the airlines involved. Dubai’s Emirates airline said earlier this week it is studying new opportunities to buy foreign carriers if they fit the Gulf emirate’s strategy, adding that it is interested in an investment in India if carried out at the right price.

India’s embattled carriers have long lobbied for looser foreign ownership rules.

Indian airlines are laden with $20 billion in debt and probably lost $2.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in March, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a consultancy.

Kingfisher, India’s second largest carrier by market share, is urgently seeking funds as it battles to stay afloat.

Despite the turmoil, industry analysts say India represents a tempting prize for foreign airlines seeking access to its market of 1.3 billion people.

Read the full story at The Economic Times (Reuters)….

Thursday 19 APR, 2012


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