Qatar Airways' message to SpiceJet: We're not interested

Ending days of speculation, Qatar Airways confirms it is in talks with an Indian carrier for a possible equity stake, just not SpiceJet.

The Doha-based airline has issued a statement denying last week’s news reports claiming it was pursuing a commercial stake in the aforementioned budget carrier, announcing instead "the only airline it is talking to is the Indian carrier IndiGo".

Qatar Airways also referred to these news reports "a tactic to increase market and share value"; on Monday, shares in SpiceJet soared to a two year high as investors reacted to the news that the Indian airline has been approached by outside investors.

In May this year, Qatar Airways Chief Akbar Al Baker had confirmed the same to Emirates 24|7 during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, stating at the time: “I always talk about IndiGo because it is the best run, most successful Indian carrier.

“And if there is any opportunity for taking an equity stake in IndiGo, we will be very interested. The owner, Rahul Bhatia, also realises the synergies that Qatar Airways will bring.”

Last week’s Indian news reports cited SpiceJet had confirmed talks were ongoing with Qatar Airways for a commercial partnership.

Denying the claim, in its complete statement, Qatar Airways said: “This is to confirm that Qatar Airways is not in talks to pursue a commercial stake in SpiceJet. There is no interest from the airline to engage in a partnership with the Gurgaon-based airline.”

The statement further adds: “Qatar Airways officially states that it is an inaccurate claim from news reports that, ‘Qatar Airways is picking up a stake in SpiceJet’.”

Qatar Airways also denied the claims that a consensus had been reached regarding an interline agreement, and that negotiations were set to continue in the near future.

The airline continued: “Qatar Airways presently does not have any form of interline agreement with SpiceJet, which is the simplest form of relations between any two airlines, and it is not planning to pursue any form of arrangement in the future.”

Doha’s national carrier added this was not the first time such claims have been made, with similar news disseminated in January 2013, adding: “this appears to be a tactic to increase market and share value.

“These stake sale comments are unfounded and are believed to be deliberately spread to influence share valuations.”

On Tuesday, SpiceJet Ltd reported a net profit of $11.2 million for the three months ending June, after cutting costs and flying more passengers.

Earlier this year, Al Baker had commented on its choice of IndiGo over other Indian carriers, saying: “We like to partner with success stories, not failures.”

He added: “If there’s equity available we would be very to take that equity in IndiGo.”

Al Baker added at the time that acquisition rules prevented Qatar Airways from taking a majority stake, but his airline would be interested in buying up to 49 per cent of IndiGo.

Al Baker, however, denied the Doha-based carrier was in official talks with the Indian airline.

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