NEW DELHI: To capture the lucrative international airline market at a time when macro-economic metric of the domestic market is not positive, India’s leading private airline IndiGo on Thursday signed a one-way codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways.
The one-way codeshare agreement between the two carriers will enable Qatar Airways to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, giving it more access to the fast-growing Indian market.
The deal also helps the Middle Eastern carrier to bypass restrictions on adding more flights by funnelling passengers on IndiGo. India has not increased the capacity rights available to Qatar-based carriers for nearly a decade. However, the number of people travelling from India to the Gulf nation has increased substantially. “There is a huge potential for the growth between IndiGo and Qatar Airways ... there is sign of togetherness and growing co-operation between the two airlines, countries,” said Akbar Al Baker, group CEO, Qatar Airways.
“We believe this agreement will be just the first step in strengthening our relationship and we very much look forward to work together to harness our complementary strengths and resources, to enhance the travel experience for our passengers around the world,” he said.
The middle-east carrier currently operates 102 weekly flights between Doha and 13 destinations in India. As for IndiGo, the deal gives it the expertise of a reliable partner as the low cost carrier’s CEO Ronojoy Dutta said, “We don’t want to be alone in foreign geographies and we want help in distant airports. This strategic alliance will not only strengthen our international operations, but also boost economic growth in India, by bringing in more traffic and heralding opportunities for trade...” he added.
Interested in IndiGo, not in Air India: Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that his airline has no interest in buying stake in the soon up for grab national carrier Air India. However, the CEO expressed desire to have a stake in IndiGo. “We are very keen on IndiGo, we are very keen to take a stake in IndiGo but I don’t think this is the right time to talk about it,” Akbar Al Baker said, referring to the dispute between the two promoters of the India’s largest airline. The government is planning to invite bids for the national carrier late this month or early next month. Air India is sitting on a debt pile of around J58,000 crore, besides huge accumulated losses running into thousands of crores.