Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier Ryanair is learnt to be conducting due diligence on Indian airline SpiceJet Ltd, The Times of India reported.SpiceJet is trying to raise 40 mln usd to fund its expansion plans and is mulling over launching overseas services, the paper said, adding that the carrier plans to increase its fleet strength to 18 by next year, from the current 11.
According to Indian rules, a foreign airline cannot invest directly in an Indian carrier but its promoters can buy shares in their individual capacity, subject to a condition that a 51 pct stake is held by Indians.
Declan Ryan of the Ryan family, who started the airline in 1985, has held talks with SpiceJet management, the paper said.
SpiceJet denied that it was looking at Ryan for investment. ‘Declan Ryan and another board member of his airline were going from London to Australia to attend Tiger Airline’s board meeting. We requested them to stopover here and look at our model, if there are ways we can further improve our cost efficiency, which is anyway the lowest in India,’ the paper quoted SpiceJet chief executive Siddhanta Sharma as saying.
Sharma said the airline will continue operating as a standalone model.