India’s Jet Airways and SpiceJet are considering selling stakes to foreign companies following a recent change in the country’s investment rules, a government official tells Aviation Week.

The Mumbai-based Jet Airways, India’s largest airline by total passengers, is in discussions with the Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways to sell a minority stake, the government official, who requested anonymity, says.

“Talks are on. It is more or less final,” the official says. It may take around 45 days to conclude the deal, he adds.

Etihad currently owns stakes in Germany’s Air Berlin, Ireland’s Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles.

An official at Etihad Airways could not be reached for comment.

Separately, India’s discount carrier SpiceJet also is holding similar discussions with Malaysia’s AirAsia, the region’s largest budget carrier, the government official notes, although he did not provide specific details.

Both Jet Airways and SpiceJet refused to confirm the respective deals.

“We are aware that recently there has been much speculation in the press,” Jet sys in a statement.“The company cannot comment on such speculative reports.”

SpiceJet, meanwhile, says some foreign investors have “evinced interest” in the company after the Indian government recently allowed foreign airlines to own up to 49% of local carriers, but adds that “it will be very premature to comment on the prospect of any fresh equity issuance to such interested parties and confirm or deny names of any specific entity.”

AirAsia, however, denies any action, saying it did not submit a bid for SpiceJet and “has no intentions of doing so.”

“AirAsia rejects the speculation surrounding our possible expansion in India. These reports are completely incorrect,” AirAsia Group’s CEO Tony Fernandes says in a statement.

737 photo: SpiceJet