Qatar Airways had approached Tata Group to jointly bid for Air India 4 years ago
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker has not given up on the "huge aviation market" that is India.
May 05, 2021 / 02:18 PM IST
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 airplane is pictured at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome
Qatar Airways had reached out to Tata Group about four years ago when the the first attempt by government to privatise national carrier Air India.
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told The Times of India that Ratan Tata was not interested since Tata Sons has already partnered with Singapore Airlines for Vistara, and AirAsia.
"About four years back, we did show interest to partner with Mr Ratan Tata (for jointly bidding for AI). At that time he was not interested because they were already partner with Vistara (Singapore Airlines) and AirAsia. He at that time did not think of investing in AI. If Tata would have agreed to partner with us, we would have bid for AI that time. The (Tata's bidding for AI last year) change of mind happened recently," Al Baker told the paper.
Also read: Govt expects bids for Air India to be lower due to COVID-19 as assets maybe devalued
During the second attempt at privatising the national carrier, the government has put up its entire 100 percent stake up for sale.
The Tata Group had not yet responded when contacted by The Times of India.
The government had earlier transferred Rs 29,500 crore of Air India's debt to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to make it for attractive for potential buyers,
The Doha-based airline has not given up on the "huge aviation market" that is India.
Baker told the publication he still open to a partnership with Rahul Bhatia and IndiGo Airlines.
"Rahul Bhatia has been operating a very successful company. They are best run, very efficient and the largest Indian carrier. I am sure that sooner or later Mr Bhatia will decide that he would like to go long haul. We are always ready to partner with an individual who has the same mindset as us at his business (like Bhatia)," he said.
Al Baker also said Qatar Airways turned down some cash-strapped Indian carriers (not IndiGo) that had sought funding through partnerships and stake sale.