Qatar Airways on Thursday signed a one-way codeshare agreement with IndiGo that will allow its passengers to book seats on the latter's flights connecting Doha with three Indian cities. "With the sale starting from today, the one-way codeshare agreement between the two carriers will enable Qatar Airways to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad," IndiGo said in a statement. IndiGo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ronojoy Dutta and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker signed the codeshare agreement in New Delhi. Dutta explained the need for signing the agreement, stating, "Clearly, our flights are not 100 per cent full. To that extent, Qatar Airways puts passengers on our flights, our load factors go up, and we look at strong revenues coming from it."
When asked why only a one-way codeshare agreement has been signed with Qatar Airways, he replied, "We have a lot of system work to be done... We started with Turkish Airlines, and it has been putting a lot of pressure on our systems. We want to take these baby steps to make sure we are ready before we go any further." In October last year, IndiGo had signed two-way codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines allowing either of the airlines to book seats for its passengers on each other's flight. On Thursday, Baker said, "It is the wish of both the airlines to expand the codeshare agreement to all the destinations that IndiGo operates."
Qatar and other Middle-Eastern countries have been asking India for the past few years to increase the seat allocation under bilateral air traffic rights, which will allow them to fly more flights connecting Indian cities. However, India has not done so as it is worried that Indian airlines' international expansion plans would be hurt if the seat allocation is increased with Qatar and other Middle-Eastern countries.
Baker said on Thursday, "Unfortunately, India has one of the most restrictive aviation regimes...in the world and it is time, for the sake of economic growth, for the sake of tourism, for the sake of providing employment...there is nothing better than opening up the aviation market." With around 48 per cent share in the domestic air passenger market, IndiGo is the largest airline in India. This year, the low-cost carrier started operating flights between India and Vietnam, Myanmar, China and Saudi Arabia.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)