Friday, March 10, 2017

Old Indian carriers to oppose Qatar Air proposal

New Delhi: Qatar Airways' plan to set up a 100% Qatari-owned domestic airline in India is all set to get a red carpet treatment from the Modi government, but 'old' Indian carriers are gearing up to oppose the proposal tooth and nail.
Aviation minister Jayant Sinha told TOI on Thursday that India now has among the most liberal FDI regimes in the world for the aviation sector. "Qatar and other airlines are very welcome to explore how they can establish themselves in India under that FDI regime. Under our regulations, it is possible to have a 100% foreign-owned carrier in India," he said. India since last June, allows 100% foreign-owned domestic carrier, in which a foreign airline can have up to 49% stake and foreign investment arm/s the remaining 51%.
The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), comprising Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, is planning to oppose Qatar Airways' (QA's) Indian plan on the ground that no country allows 100% foreign-owned domestic carriers. "Indian carriers cannot own or control airlines in other countries. It will be a complete sellout of Indian interests as it hurts desi airlines and will lead to setting up of another hub for Indian traffic abroad (referring to the QA base of Doha). It is a complete reversal of 'Make in India'," said an FIA member.
FIA had used the same argument to oppose Singapore Airlines and AirAsia's JV airlines with the Tata Group in India. It says that FDI in airlines was allowed to ensure that existing Indian carriers get much-required funds and expertise and not for JV startups.
10/03/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India