Shaikh Ahmad is surrounded by members of the press during the Global Aerospace Summit at the St Regis Hotel on Saadyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Emirates is close to announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31. Shaikh Ahmad said the results are expected to be ‘positive’ despite the problems affecting the aviation industry. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates airline said it would look at investing in an Indian carrier as the Indian government moves toward opening up to foreign direct investment.

"Anything that is to do with aviation and helps our business… if it is at the right price we will always look at it, but nothing has been happening," Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and Group, told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of an aviation conference in Abu Dhabi.

The Indian government has in principle said it will allow foreign carriers to buy a 49 per cent stake in a local carrier, although final word is still awaited.

Asked if it would make sense for Emirates to invest in an Indian carrier such as Kingfisher Airlines, which is almost on the brink of closing down, Shaikh Ahmad told Gulf News: "Talking about the business, there are many other companies like that around the world which we could look at, but don't expect us to buy everything."

His comments about India come shortly after he said Emirates was open to investments in the country following a March meeting with its civil aviation minister.

More flying rights

Emirates has been trying to gain additional flying rights in India.

The carrier is currently allowed to fly 53,000 seats in and out of India each week, while Indian carriers have a similar quota in the UAE.

According to industry experts, while Emirates is fully utilising its quota, Indian carriers would take six months more to do so in the UAE. Meanwhile, Indian carriers have been seeking investment as they struggle to fight industry challenges such as high fuel prices.

Emirates is close to announcing its financial results for the year ended March 31. Shaikh Ahmad said the results are expected to be "positive".

"There have been a lot of problems which were affecting the airline industry last year," he said.

"Still, we are going to see positive results for the last financial year.

"And this is a good sign considering that the fuel price is one of the major factors that affected the numbers this year for airlines in the region as well as around the world."

As technical snags such as wing cracks in Airbus A380s were discovered recently, Emirates has had to ground the majority of its superjumbo fleet.

Asked how much compensation Emirates is seeking from Airbus for the losses incurred and if it would impact future A380 deliveries for the carrier, Shaikh Ahmad said: "This is in discussions. We won't be able to talk about this right now. There is always a solution for any problem."