The announcement we’ve all been waiting for has been made, and IndiGo has been revealed to have signed a codeshare with Middle Eastern Qatar Airways. The agreement will place Qatar’s code on flights between Doha and Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad.
One way codeshare
The new codeshare will see Qatar’s QR code on flights operated by IndiGo to three specific Indian destinations. These are Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad from Doha. IndiGo chief executive Ronojoy Dutta told LiveMint,
“We are confident of a successful partnership, as we extend our signature on-time, courteous and hassle-free service experience to the passengers of Qatar Airways. These are exciting times for the aviation industry and it is our commitment to remain focused in building one of the best air transportation system in the world.”
While it’s good news for those arriving in the Middle East and headed on to India, the codeshare will not work in the opposite direction. That means Indian travelers heading on from Doha to other parts of the world will still need to look for two separate itineraries for their onward travels.
This is IndiGo’s second codeshare to be announced, following its earlier tie-up with Turkish Airlines.
Helping Qatar’s Indian penetration
Despite repeated requests from the Doha based carrier in recent months, India has not allowed Qatar Airways to increase capacity to Indian destinations since 2009. This codeshare will allow the airline to funnel more passengers into India by leveraging IndiGo’s own capacity. LiveMint reports Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker as saying,
“We are extremely proud to secure this strategic partnership with IndiGo, the largest airline in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets. We believe this agreement will be just the first step in strengthening our relationship.”
At the press conference where the announcement was made, Qatar CEO Al Baker reiterated his desire to buy a stake in IndiGo in the future. Reuters says he told reporters,
“We are very keen to take a stake in IndiGo but we will wait. This is not the right time.”
Following the collapse of Jet Airways, IndiGo has emerged as the largest Indian carrier. By October this year, IndiGo was transporting one in every two airline passengers in the nation, with a market share of some 48.2%.
No interest in Air India
We had previously speculated that a closer partnership with IndiGo could serve as a precursor to a joint bid between the two airlines for beleaguered Air India. However, Al Baker put those rumors to rest at today’s press conference. NDTV reports that he said,
“We have no interest in buying stake in Air India.”
This will come as a blow to Air India, as the government-owned airline desperately needs investment in order to stay afloat. Business Standard reports that officials from the civil aviation ministry and the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (Dipam) are planning a roadshow in Singapore and then London in an attempt to drum up interest with potential investors for the airline.
Are you happy to see the new codeshare with IndiGo announced by Qatar? Will it make traveling to India easier? Let us know in the comments.