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Qatar Airways may pick up stake in Air India: CEO Al Baker

New Delhi [India], Nov 7 : Qatar Airways is keen to spread its wings in India which ranks as one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets.

“We will be interested to invest in Air India if we have very strong investors together with us,” said its Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker on Thursday. “We are very keen if the Tata Group is interested in Air India to partner with them.” Al Baker said Air India was at one time one of the finest airlines and hoped that it will back to that stature. “I wish all the best to Air India employees.”

The government is keen on Air India’s privatisation as the airline sits atop a debt pile of over Rs 58,000 crore besides accumulated losses. Bids for its sale are likely to be called later this month. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that governments should not be in the business of running airlines.

Earlier on Thursday, Qatar Airways signed a codeshare agreement with low-cost carrier IndiGo to bolster connectivity between India and Qatar, enabling the latter to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Qatar Airways will place its code ‘QR’ on IndiGo operated flights between these destinations.

The Doha-based airline operates 102 weekly flights between the Qatari capital and 13 destinations in India including Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai, Nagpur and Thiruvananthapuram.

There have been reports that Qatar Airways may pick up a stake in InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of IndiGo, which last week reported a net loss of Rs 1,062 crore during the July to September quarter (Q2 FY20).

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