Indian airline IndiGo and Qatar Airways have inked a pact which involves a comprehensive codeshare agreement and joint flights. Sales have started already with the first codeshare flights
to operate from 18 December 2019.
IndiGo chief executive Ronojoy Dutta and Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker will "talk about the vision and future for both the airlines", they said in a statement.
The agreement enables QR to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker stated on the occasion of the signing ceremony that this accord will be just the first step in strengthening the relationship between both carriers. "We very much look forward to working together to harness our complementary strengths and resources to enhance the travel experience for our pssengers around the world," exclaimed the manager.
IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta stated: "This strategic alliance will not only strengthen our international operations, but also boost economic growth in India, by bringing more traffic and heralding opportunities for trade and tourism through seamless mobility."
The joint announcement follows last week's massive order by IndiGo for 300 Airbus A320neo's, including the newest, long-range version of the single-aisle A320neo family, the A321XLR.
Qatar Airways has had its eyes on the fast-growing Indian market for some time, but its plans to start an airline of its own have been frustrated over Indian rules regarding foreign ownership.
Similarly, an earlier attempt to acquire a stake in IndiGo was unsuccessful and Qatar Airways CEO Al Baker has reportedly decided to focus on a codeshare and joint flights with IndiGo.
In the meantime, the airline has asked Indian authorities to temporarily allow it to add more seats on high-volume routes to fill the gap left by Jet Airways, a partner of rival Etihad Airways, which went bust in April.
Owners are arch enemies
IndiGo, which has a 48.2% market share of India’s domestic air traffic, also benefitted from the Jet Airways bankruptcy. It is also planning an aggressive push into more international destinations.
Apart from its extensive domestic network, the airline currently flies to 60 international destinations in Turkey, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia.
However, any deal between IndiGo and Qatar Airways, which could be a codeshare agreement, stake sale or any other kind of partnership, would come at a time when IndiGo's two co-founders, Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, have been embroiled in a dispute about corporate governance of the airline, sparking concerns among investors it could have an impact on the airline's valuation and strategy.
Nol van Fenema
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