Air India's international operations main attraction for IndiGo

The international operations of Air India seems to be the main attraction for IndiGo, which has also flagged concerns about some foreign overseas airlines being allowed 'disproportionate access' to the Indian market.

PTI June 29, 2017 22:07:22 IST
Air India's international operations main attraction for IndiGo

New Delhi: The international operations of Air India seems to be the main attraction for IndiGo, which has also flagged concerns about some foreign overseas airlines being allowed "disproportionate access" to the Indian market.

With the Cabinet deciding on the disinvestment of debt-laden Air India, that also has significant share in the international market, IndiGo has expressed its interest in buying the national carrier and its low cost arm Air India Express.

Air Indias international operations main attraction for IndiGo

Representational image. Reuters

"Over time, India has allowed disproportionate access to airlines of some of the city states in the Middle East and south east Asia. The massive hubs that these airlines have built, significantly benefitted at the expense of India. As a consequence of this, India's international air transportation hubs reside outside the geography of our country. It is time for India to take back its fair share of international traffic and bring back this economic wealth to where it rightfully belongs," IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh has said.

In a letter, Ghosh has requested the ministry to treat the letter as an expression of interest in acquiring the international airline operations of Air India and Air India Express. "Alternatively, we are equally interested in acquiring all of the airline operations of Air India and Air India Express," he said in the letter written on Wednesday. He also cited IndiGo's track record of consistently being profitable airline with a strong balance sheet.

IndiGo's share stood at 41.2 percent in the domestic aviation market in May. The Cabinet has decided to form an Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism to take forward the disinvestment plan.

Various issues, including the treatment of unsustainable debts of Air India, hiving off certain assets to a shell company and de-merger and strategic disinvestment of profit-making subsidiaries, would be looked into.

"We would like to point out that our confidence and ability to build for our country one of the world's largest international carriers is driven by the significant domestic network we have built over the years," the letter said.

In our view, no other carrier is better placed to realise this potential and we would not even dream of embarking on such a journey but for our domestic feed network.

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said that IndiGo has written a letter with an unsolicited expression of interest in the divestment procedure of Air India.

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