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Qatar Airways plans a strategic partnership with IndiGo, a move that will funnel more traffic from the fast-growing Indian air-travel market to the Gulf carrier’s network.

“It is not something about buying a stake, it’s commercial," Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said in an interview in Kuwait on Tuesday, referring to an announcement planned for 7 November. The CEO said the strategic announcement planned with IndiGo on 7 November will concern a code-share accord rather than a deeper arrangement.

Qatar Airways has been looking to expand in the fast-growing Indian market, yet plans to start a new carrier there have been frustrated over rules surrounding foreign ownership. Instead, the airline has asked local authorities to temporarily allow it to add more seats on high-volume routes to fill the gap left by Jet Airways, a partner of rival Etihad Airways, which went bust in April.

Indigo has emerged as the biggest Indian airline following the collapse of Jet Airways. Last week, the carrier ordered 300 narrow-body jets from Airbus SE -- one of the European plane maker’s biggest ever deals.

Qatar Airways could break even within the next two years, the CEO said, even after full-year losses increased by near ten-fold on higher fuel costs and a weaker regional economy. The carrier as also been affected by a tough operating environment caused by Saudi-led airspace closures.

“We are now back to our pre-blockade growth and we hope that we will come to profitability soon," Al Baker said.

Shares of InterGlobe Aviation on Tuesday rose 2% ahead of the strategic business announcement by the company along with Qatar Airways.

The scrip gained 1.77 per cent to close at 1,461.45 on the BSE. During the day, it rose 4.64 per cent to 1,502.70.

On the National Stock Exchange, it jumped 1.99 per cent to close at 1,465.


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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