Tuesday, June 25, 2019

IndiGo says continue to eye international operations of Air India at right fleet, right price

IndiGo continues to be interested in international operations of Air India at the right price and with right fleet size, chief executive officer Ronojoy Dutta told CNBC-TV18 in an exclusive interview.

"At Air India, there are huge risks but also huge rewards. I believe the preliminary information memorandum will come in July. Hypothetically, if someone would be taking the domestic operations, then we would be interested in the international segment at the right fleet and the right price," Dutta told CNBC-TV18.

After failing to divest its 76 percent stake in national carrier Air India last year, the government is looking at another attempt to sell Air India in order to meet its divestment receipts.

"The history of mergers in the airline industry is not very great. Kingfisher Airlines bought Air Deccan, Jet Airways bought Sahara Airlines, neither of those turned out to be good investments. So, we're not going to rush into this, frankly. There's a lot of things that give us pause. There's the huge debt, thousands of crores sitting there. Buying aircraft at the right price is very important. Did they buy all the fleet at the right price? Or will we be stuck with high-cost aircraft, is an issue. So, these are all things to look at," Dutta said.

"But at the same time, is it attractive to say they fly to Heathrow, they have slots there. You get more slots in Delhi and Mumbai. You get traffic rights to many cities including the Middle-East, that's all very attractive. So, I think there are some rewards but a huge amount of risk," he added.

IndiGo had shown interest in buying Air India last year as well but it had clearly stated that it is only eyeing the international operations and was not keen to take over the domestic part.
25/06/19 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

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