JAN 16, 2019 0 430
Qatar Airways (QA) will not buy a stake in Jet Airways as a substantial portion of the debt-laden Indian carrier is held by Etihad Airways, whose owner Abu Dhabi is an “enemy” of Qatar, its Group Chief Executive Akbar al Baker said on Tuesday.
“We would definitely look at it (Jet Airways) if a 24 percent stake was not held by Etihad,” Baker said on the sidelines of an aviation conference in Mumbai. “How can I take a stake in an airline which is owned by our adversary?”
Baker said Qatar Airways would be “delighted” to take a stake in IndiGo, the largest airline in India — home to the world’s fastest growing aviation market.
The Qatari airline has previously expressed an interest in investing in IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation.
“But not in an airline where substantial ownership is by the enemy of my country,” he said, referring to Jet.
As part of a broader effort to diversify its portfolio outside its home market, the Qatari carrier purchased a 10 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd in 2017 and 5 percent in China Southern Airlines Co Ltd this month. Qatar Airways also remains interested in starting a fully-owned airline in India, Baker said on Tuesday, but that is not allowed under India’s current foreign investment rules. (Reuters)