Jan 10, 2018, 14:11 IST
NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday allowed foreign airlines to invest up to 49 per cent in Air India, paving the way for Indian players to tie up with foreign airlines to bid for it. While opening numerous possibilities, this also clears the way for Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines JV Vistara to bid for AI and also for IndiGo to tie up with a foreign airline (like Qatar Airways) to do so, if IndiGo wants to.
“Foreign airlines allowed to invest up to 49 per cent under government approval route in AI as well. Substantial ownership and control (SOEC) of AI shall continue to be vested in Indian National. Foreign investment(s) in AI, including that of foreign airlines, shall not exceed 49 per cent either directly or indirectly,” the government said in a statement about Cabinet decisions taken on Wednesday.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) says that an airline’s SOEC should be with the nationals of a country if such an airline wishes to fly out of that country. The issue of SOEC being with Indians arises at two times — issuing license and later giving bilateral rights that India has to its airline for flying abroad.