IndiGo may buy stake in Jet Airways as it dreams big

IndiGo wants to be an India-based airline with significant international presence.

Mumbai: Budget carrier IndiGo wants to go global is no more a hidden secret at least for the industry watchers, and to turn that dream into a reality the airline is trying each and every option on the table.

IndiGo's parent InterGlobe Aviation has already revealed that it wants to buy Air India's international operations, as it does not want to fly in rough weather by bidding for the entire stake. Air India is still to get a buyer for its divestment.

However, the idea has still not seen the light of the day as the government is moving forward in smaller steps as far as the divestment of Air India is concerned. Air India is among the many ailing public sector undertakings with an estimated debt of Rs 50,000 crore. The erstwhile UPA government had extended a bailout package of Rs 30,000 crore to keep the airline afloat.

On Wednesday, Mint reported that IndiGo may go in for a stake buy in Jet Airways and can also pump in money into Jet if it fails to bid in Air India divestment, according to a person briefed on the airline’s strategy. The airline has indicated it will not hesitate from buying new planes to realise its international goals.

Billionaires Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal, two well-known aviation entrepreneurs, run the low-cost carrier. The duo was first to dispatch a request to the government which showed their keen interest in buying an Air India share.

Going forward, IndiGo may effect a reshuffle of its top management and bring in new faces with standard skills to steer the bigger ship, Mint cited a person familiar with the development. It may be noted that new Foreign Direct Investment rules for aviation make room for a 49 per cent stake for a foreign carrier. However, this rule does not apply to Air India.

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