Qatar Airways is interested in buying a stake in an Indian airline, its chief executive Akbar Al Baker said yesterday.
“India is a huge market. India is a potentially lucrative market,” Mr Al Baker told reporters in Doha. “Qatar Airways will be interested once we are sure the regulations and the laws are properly liberalised.”
Mr Al Baker said he was not studying any specific purchase in India, where changes to rules curbing foreign direct investment from airlines have spurred interest in the market.
Arabian Gulf carriers including Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways are looking to expand into the Indian market after the prime minister Manmohan Singh’s government in September allowed foreign airlines to own as much as 49 per cent of India’s carriers.
Mr Al Baker also confirmed that Qatar Airways had sold its 35 per cent stake in Luxembourg’s Cargolux Airlines International.
Luxembourg’s government announced last month that it bought the stake for US$117.5 million (Dh431.6m). Mr Al Baker also denied reports the airline was looking to buy a stake in Alitalia.Doha’s new airport, currently under construction, will receive its first passengers on April 1 and was expected to be fully open to all airlines in the second half of the year.
Reports said yesterday that the new airport would be renamed as Hamad International Airport.