Emirates says it is open to Indian aviation investment options

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An Emirates airliner seen taxied next to an Air India jet on an Indian airport. Photo - Simplifying.com

Emirates Airline, Dubai’s flag carrier, has hinted it is keeping its investing options open in India amid signs New Delhi is moving toward overhauling country’s ownership rules.

“Anything to do with the aviation, if it’s at the right price, we always look at it,” chairman Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum told reporters Monday in Abu Dhabi at an aviation conference. He added that the carrier has not initiated talks with any Indian carrier yet and has no specific plans.

Emirates’ rivals including Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways also insist they consider India as top priority aviation market as the country’s economic growth boosts demand for air travel.

Struggling Kingfisher Airlines recently announced it is seeking investment from abroad in order to keep its operations running. Price wars and higher fuel prices have dented profitability of several Indian airlines during the last few months.

Reports coming from the Indian capital suggest Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet will soon decide whether to allow overseas airlines buy stakes of as much as 49% of local carriers.

A ministerial panel gave preliminary approval to the proposal, seen vital by many aviation experts, after considering it for more than three years. The government has already allowed non-airline overseas investors to buy 49% stakes in other sectors of the Indian economy.

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