Hours after finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday evening announced the cabinet’s approval for privatising Air India (AI), low cost carrier IndiGo submitted its expression of interest for the airline.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh wrote to aviation authorities Wednesday evening, saying his airline is interested in buying the international operations of AI and AI Express. And if these were not available separately, Ghosh, arguably India’s most successful airline CEO, said IndiGo would be interested in AI as a whole.
Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said the low cost carrier’s expression of interest was the first “unsolicited” formal offer for AI. “A number of domestic and international players have informally approached us to show interest in AI. IndiGo is the first one to do so formally,” Sinha said. The minister did not say if Qatar Airways, which wants to start an airline in India, is among the International players that have informally approached the government for AI.
Incidentally, Qatar Airways has long expressed a desire to buy a stake in IndiGo. However, IndiGo has so far “politely declined” Qatar’s offer for buying a stake in it. Whether the two come together to jointly bid for AI remains to be seen.
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