GoAir in talks with potential investors

Mumbai
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India's GoAir has had "preliminary" talks with several potential investors who are keen to buy a stake in the low-cost carrier.

The owners of the privately-held airline, Indian conglomerate Wadia Group, are however in no rush to seal a deal and will only go ahead if it is with a partner who brings "real benefits", says GoAir's chief executive Giorgio de Roni in an interview.

This is because India's smallest airline, which has 14 Airbus A320s in its fleet, is keen to continue with its "cautious" growth strategy, which it believes will be more sustainable over the long term, he adds on the sidelines of Routes Asia 2013.

"There is a strong commitment to the airline from the Wadia Group, and cash is not the priority for them. That was clear when they gave the go-ahead for our last aircraft order," says de Roni, referring to a 2011 purchase of 72 A320neo aircraft. The airline also has another seven A320s in its backlog.

"They want a partner to strengthen the airline and help it to grow in the domestic and international markets. It has to be a strategic investment with a partner that is keen on a cautious and sustainable approach to growth as well. If that partner can't be found, they do not see a reason to sell."

There has been interest from airlines in the Gulf and within Asia and the airline is not limiting itself to low-cost carriers, says de Roni. While he was not willing reveal more, Indian media reports have suggested that Qatar Airways and Japan's All Nippon Airways could be potential suitors.

He adds that the stringent criteria set by the owners mean that a deal could take a little longer, although he expects any transaction to be completed by the next financial year.