Singapore Airlines welcomes FDI reform

September 20th, 2012 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) Singapore Airlines Thursday welcomed the government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in Indian carriers, but said it has no plans right now to invest in any airline.

“We welcome the move by the government. But as of now there are no plans. We have all our options open and right now we cannot comment or commit on anything,” Casey Ow Yong, regional vice president, West Asia and Africa, told IANS.

The Indian government last Friday allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent in private domestic carriers. The foreign carriers have so far not been allowed to directly invest in Indian carriers on security grounds, although 49 percent FDI by non-airline players was allowed.

The Indian airlines sector has been going through a tough operating environment as high fuel and interest costs have hurt it. The government expects that its decision will help bring in more funds to the stressed airlines.

Asked whether the airline will start a new airline with its old partner, the Tata Group, the Singaporean carrier said all its options are open, but right now it is focused on consolidating its own market share.

The carrier is facing tough competition from other regional carriers like Air Asia.

The airline said it would increase its Indian destinations to 11 and will operate to Vishakapatnam. It has opened a new lounge at Delhi’s IGI airport.

“We are focusing on providing significant value on our services to the customer. The lounge is a step in that direction as there is a sizable premium travel segment coming from India. We also plan to add Vizag,” Casey said.

Currently, the airline operates on a fleet of more than 100 aircraft and has subsidiaries including Singapore Airlines Cargo and SilkAir cover destinations of 106 cities in 40 countries.

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