Oman Air not to bid for Air India

Oman Air not to bid for Air India

Oman’s national airline Oman Air would rather invest in a profit-making airline in India rather than buying a stake in an ‘ailing’ carrier, its chief executive officer said on Thursday, making it clear that the company would not bid for Air India.

“As a businessman, you are far more eager to participate with a profit-making airline and not having the legacy of the state airline,” Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch told The Hindu. “If you look at what the neighbouring Gulf airlines have done with state airlines in Europe, you see that those investments have been a complete failure.”

He said that Oman Air had no plans to acquire a strategic stake in an Indian airline at the moment. “If it would come to it, we would team up with a promising proposition from a successful Indian airline than setting up our own or getting involved with an ailing Indian airline,” he said.

“Today we have no interest to make a bid for Air India or part of Air India,” he clarified. The Centre last month gave an in-principle nod for strategic disinvestment of Air India. So far, IndiGo has formally expressed formal interest in acquiring stake in the national carrier’s international operations.

Gregorowitsch’s comments come at a time when Qatar Airways has made public its plan to set up a fully foreign-owned airline in India after the Centre fully liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in the airline sector. He said that the economic difficulties faced by the Gulf countries had to an extent dampened the airline’s enthusiasm to acquire a stake in an Indian carrier.

“Currently, we are looking at the landscape and a number of dynamics which we prefer to observe instead of stepping in,” he said, adding that the Indian aviation sector was witnessing a consolidation, with talk of IndiGo buying a stake in Air India and Jet Airways’ reported plans to sell stakes to foreign players.

“There are so many dynamics and we are simply observing them. We don’t have the appetite to step in, but if based on the consolidation, the players and dynamics change, if we have or want to team up, of course, we will be on the front seat.”


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