Jet, Kingfisher eye SriLankan stake
Mumbai, January 23, 2008
India's top private carrier, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines are eyeing the stake held by Emirates in SriLankan Airlines, a report said.
Emirates, the largest Arab airline, said earlier this month it was interested in selling its 43.6 percent stake in SriLankan Airlines and wanted around $150 million for it.
The Sri Lankan government already owns 51 percent of the airline and has said it may buy Emirates' stake. The management of SriLankan Airlines will revert to the government on April 1.
"For Indian carriers, a major attraction in acquiring a stake is the booming business from India to Colombo with over 100 flights a week," the Economic Times said, citing unnamed industry officials.
A spokeswoman for Jet declined comment, while a spokesman for Kingfisher could not immediately be reached.
Jet Airways already operates flights to Colombo and is boosting its international operations to counter growing competition in the domestic market.
Jet acquired India's Air Sahara last year. It has approached British airline bmi's majority shareholder about the sale of his stake, the Sunday Telegraph reported at the weekend.
Kingfisher is controlled by India's top alcoholic drinks maker, the UB Group. It is merging India's Deccan Aviation Ltd with itself and is scheduled to start flying overseas this year. - Reuters