“Several” international carriers are contemplating a stake in Kingfisher Airlines’ holding company UB Holdings, says Vijay Mallya, chairman of the financially troubled operator, just days after the Indian government relaxed foreign ownership rules.
“We can’t go faster, as it is only 10 days ago the government announced the FDI [foreign direct investment] policy in the civil aviation sector,” says Mallya, noting the new policy that allows foreign airlines to own up to 49% of a domestic carrier.
No other details are being disclosed, although local media is speculating thatare considering a stake in an Indian carrier. Emirates, however, has denied such rumors.
Mallay dismisses reports that Kingfisher is operating just seven of its 40 aircraft, asserting that 15 aircraft are in operation and that “we are looking for recapitalization to put the remaining 25 aircraft back in air.”
The unprofitable carrier is currently in discussions with a consortium of banks to restructure some 80 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) in debt, Mallya adds.