Qatar Airways says a codeshare agreement with India’s IndiGo is the first step in strengthening co-operation between the two carriers.
The agreement allows Qatar to place its code on IndiGo flights between its home hub of Doha and Dehli, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Budget carrier IndiGo is the subcontinent’s biggest passenger airline and was a major beneficiary of the collapse of Jet Airways in April 2019.
With a market share of 48 percent and a fleet of more than 240 aircraft, it offers almost 1500 domestic flights to 60 domestic destinations and 23 internationally.
India is an important market for the Gulf states and Qatar has been seeking increased capacity to the sub-continent for some time.
It had also shown an interest in starting an airline there but decided against it because of what it described as a restrictive market.
Also not on the cards, according to Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker, is a stake in embattled Indian flag carrier Air India, which the government is attempting to sell.
Al Baker told reporters in New Dehli he was only interested in a stake in IndiGo.
Al Baker said in announcing the codeshare that he believed the agreement “will be just the first step in strengthening our relationship and we very much look forward to working together to harness our complementary strengths and resources to enhance the travel experience for our passengers around the world.”
IndiGo chief executive Ronojoy Dutta said the strategic alliance would strengthen the airline’s international operations and boost economic growth in India by bringing in more traffic and heralding opportunities for trade and tourism.
Qatar operates 102 weekly flights between Doha and 13 destinations in India: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai, Nagpur and Thiruvananthapuram.
Its cargo division also operates 28 weekly freighters to seven destinations in India.