Qatar Airways eyes up to 49% stake in IndiGo

West Asian airline Qatar Airways is keen to pick up 49 per cent stake in India's largest low-cost carrier IndiGo Airlines to expand it footprint in Indian aviation market after the new government increased the FDI limit, news agency PTI reported citing the company's top executive.

Qatar Airways, which launched new Airbus A350-900 in Doha on Thursday, has also been rumoured to be in talks with SpiceJet for a deal. SpiceJet is the second-largest budget carrier in the country behind IndiGo and is desperately looking to stay afloat.

"We would be able to deliver what India want faster than all the new entrants in the Indian market as we are already established in the market," Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told PTI.

Baker had earlier said in mid 2013 that it is in talks with IndiGo for a code-sharing agreement with the Indian airline.

Currently, Rahul Bhatia of InterGlobe Enterprises holds 51.12 per cent stake in IndiGo and the rest 48.88 per cent is held by Rakesh S Gangwal through his Virginia-based company Caelum Investments.

Indigo accounts for around a third of the total domestic passenger market share. If Qatar Airways is able to strike a deal, it would get a big leg-up given that two other West Asian carriers has a strong position in India.

Etihad has a strategic stake in Jet Airways while Emirates is the single largest carrier in the international circuit to and from India.

With the delivery of the first of the 80 A350 XWB aircraft, Qatar Airways has become the first operator globally to have every type of Airbus, including A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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