Qatar Airways may invest in Indian aviation sector

Qatar Airways may invest in Indian aviation sector

India has invited Qatar to invest in its booming airline sector. The oil-rich Arab nation, which runs the hugely successful Qatar Airways, has long expressed a desire to invest in IndiGo but the Indian budget carrier has not acceded to its request.
During recent bilateral negotiations to increase flying rights between the two countries, the Indian aviation ministry asked Qatar to invest in either a startup airline here or an existing one. When reached for comment, Qatar Airways cryptically said, “We don’t have a comment on this at this point. If that changes we will let you know immediately.”
Qatar Airways is in the top 6-7 airlines in India in terms of market share of international travel to and from the country. Dubai-based Emirates is the biggest international airline in India, followed by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad. Qatar Airways, in terms of traffic, is below these two airlines, Jet, Air India and AI Express.
“Etihad has 24% stake in Jet and the former feeds traffic from several Indian cities to Abu Dhabi. Emirates has a huge presence in India. Qatar also needs a similar traffic feed from India. Unlike UPA, the Modi government is conservative when it comes to giving flying rights to foreign, especially Gulf airlines, as it is keen to protect rights of Indian carriers also,” said a source. That leaves Qatar Airways with the option of having a JV airline in India like Etihad-Jet and Singapore Airlines-Tatas’ Vistara which can eventually be used to feed its Abu Dhabi hub with traffic from India.
The reason why India is so important to Gulf carriers is that one-third of all international traffic to and from India is via Middle East on Arab airlines. International traffic in India is growing constantly at over 10% and is crucial for Gulf airlines to fill up their wide body planes. With India such a crucial catchment area for Gulf carriers, Qatar’s investment may come sooner than later, said sources.


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