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Qatar Airways-IndiGo in code share talks

Last updated on: May 8, 2013 05:57 IST

Qatar Airways-IndiGo in code share talks

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BS Reporter in Mumbai

Qatar Airways is in talks with IndiGo for a code share alliance which allow the Gulf based airline to place its code on IndiGo's domestic and international flights and thus increase its network and revenue from India, according to a media report from Dubai.

Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker confirmed that talks were on with IndiGo while interacting with media persons at a travel show in Dubai on Monday. IndiGo did not respond to a query seeking comment.

The development is significant in the wake of Etihad picking up 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways and gaining access to 23 different points within India. The civil aviation ministry has also increased the seat capacity between India and Abu Dhabi from 13,000 seats/week to over 50,000 seats/week.

This will enable Jet-Etihad to corner a larger pie of international traffic. IndiGo is the largest domestic airline by market share and has a fleet of over 60 airbus A320 planes.

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Photographs: Andrew Winning/Reuters

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Qatar Airways too is keen to increase its capacity to India but the current bilateral agreement does not allow them to increase more flights. Also the government does not allow unutilised capacity in one route to be added to other routes on India-Qatar sector.

According to civil aviation ministry officials, Qatar has asked for a major increase in seat capacity - by 48,000 seats a week. After this move, if cleared, with 72,600 seats a week, Doha could emerge as an alternative hub to Dubai.

"Yes, we are talking to IndiGo to see how we can strike a relationship with them. IndiGo is an airline that is not for sale. We only want to do a code share partnership with them. And we want to get into a situation where we work together because they are the best airline in India today. I am in touch with IndiGo's co-founder Rahul Bhatia. And we hope that we will be doing this soon," Al Baker told Dubai-based Gulf News.  "We have very high regards for IndiGo. I think it's the most efficiently run airline,'' he added.

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Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

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He denied that the airline was looking to invest in any Indian carrier. "I don't have so much money to buy stakes in airlines  "I never talked about SpiceJet or GoAir. We are not interested in either of those airlines. The brokers or the shareholders keep making these rumours in order to increase the value of their shares,'' 

Other airlines and alliances too have been in discussions with IndiGo and tried to explore partnerships. Sky Team which is led by Air France-KLM and Delta and has 19 members has been in talks with IndiGo. There were reports about British Airways-IndiGo alliance too but same was denied by both the airlines.

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Image: Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker along with country manager UAE Fadi Hijazin.


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Marisca Kensenhuis, public relations manager of Skyteam, had told this paper, "There is room to expand the Sky Team network, as there are still target areas for growth, for example in India and Brazil. As there are not that many unaligned and eligible carriers left, we will look for new opportunities. Interfacing with hybrid LCCs could be a solution

IndiGo has a different business model, does not have loyalty programme or offer free meals on board. Also for sales and distribution it does not use global distribution systems used by full service airlines and is unclear yet how IndiGo will structure its distribution network to sell partner airline's tickets.


Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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