November 7, 2019 / 7:01 AM / 7 days ago

RPT-India's IndiGo signs one-way codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways

(Repeats to additional clients with changes)

BENGALURU, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Top Indian airline IndiGo said on Thursday it signed a one-way codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways, letting the Middle Eastern airline get more access to the fast-growing Indian market.

The agreement will enable Qatar Airways to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, the companies said.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, has about 40% share of the domestic market bit.ly/36HW9zl and operates a large fleet of narrowbody aircraft.

The companies did not mention Qatar Airways making an equity investment in IndiGo, despite it having long expressed interest in doing so.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said on Tuesday the company would not buy a stake in IndiGo, CNBC-TV18 reported, citing agencies.

The deal comes at a time when IndiGo’s two co-founders, Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, have been embroiled in a dispute about corporate governance of the airline, sparking concern among investors it could have an impact on the airline’s valuation and strategy.

The airline had once shunned codeshare deals to help keep costs low in line with its budget carrier model but changed its strategy as it grew to become the dominant airline in the Indian market and looked to grow international capacity.

In December 2018, as rival Jet Airways Ltd was faltering financially ahead of a permanent grounding this April, IndiGo signed a codeshare deal with Turkish Airlines.

IndiGo last week placed an order for 300 Airbus A320neo family planes, including its newest jet, a long-range version of the single-aisle A320neo family called the A321XLR. (Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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