Taking cues from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for the aviation sector, Qatar Airways is likely to order 100 new jetliners before 2017-end to enter India with a new airline, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker also said the company plans on launching two new routes to the United Kingdom, even though the nation has imposed increased security restrictions.
Al Baker said the airline was confident that “futuristic” Modi’s new aviation policy will allow 100% foreign ownership of a domestic airline. Speaking to reporters in London, Al Baker said the airline was consulting its legal team in India to start a tender for the aircraft soon. “It could be this year. It depends how fast we can arrange our application,” Al Baker said.
The development follows Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways takeover of a 24% stake in Jet Airways India Ltd. Singapore Airlines Ltd and AirAsia too have 49% stakes with their affiliates in India.
In June 2016, the Centre allowed 100% Foreign Direct Investment in the civil aviation sector, with an exception for overseas airlines, on the condition that the stakeholders arrange for the requisite government approvals, Business Today reported. Foreign airlines are currently permitted a maximum of 49% stake in domestic carriers.
On the electronics ban imposed by the United States, Al Baker said, “It is a decision made by the United States that we as an operator have to follow. We have to comply and make sure that we don’t cause any inconvenience to our passengers.”