New York: Premier Gulf carrier Qatar Airways wants to launch flights to new Indian destinations and add to its frequencies to bolster its operations as it hoped that discussion on bilateral air services would be held soon.
The Doha-based airline currently operates from 13 Indian cities with over 100 weekly flights.
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told here that the carrier is in talks with Indian authorities to get it’s “futuristic deals” through in order to expand of operations.
He said the premier Gulf airline was also looking at outsourcing some maintenance work to Indian Maintenance, repair and operations (MROs).
“We are looking at MRO service providers in India to do checks on our aircraft because we cannot, of course, cater for all our technical requirements at our home base (in Doha). So, we will be looking at outsourcing some of our maintenance to a qualified and high standard MRO in India,” he said.
On the bilateral air services talks between the governments of India and Qatar, he said “We hope that in not too distant future we will have more negotiations with Indian authorities in which we will request for not only additional frequencies but also for additional destinations.”
Al Baker was here on the occasion of the airlines’ maiden A-350 flight between Doha and New York, which landed here yesterday.
However, he refused to divulge details on which new Indian sectors and cities the Gulf carrier was looking at expanding as he said the new numbers would depend on “how many they (Indian authorities) give us.”
“We have added 75 destinations since we stopped our operations from Nagpur sometime back,” he said.
Asked whether Qatar Airways had plans to invest in an Indian carrier, Al Baker said as of today, the Qatar flag carrier has “no intention” to invest in any Indian airline.
Earlier, the airline had evinced interest in picking up stake in IndiGo airlines.
“First of all, we don’t talk about our business expansion plans. We keep it very close to our chest. When we decide to do it you will get to know that,” he said when asked if they were looking at investing in an Indian airline.
The Gulf carrier had reinstated its commercial passenger flight operations from Nagpur early this month with daily flights to Doha.
Baker said Nagpur, initially, was not a successful route for them as they did not have the “expanded network” to make the Orange City a “feasible option” for the airline. “It (Nagpur) is feasible now”, he added.
Qatar Airways currently offers flights from over a dozen cities in India via its hub in Doha to Barcelona, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, London, Miami, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Washington DC And more.
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