SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) chairman and managing director Ajay Singh has put the word out that the low-cost carrier is open to investment from external parties, including other airlines, as it strives to raise INR20 billion rupees (USD250 million).

The financially troubled airline is looking at “multiple ways to raise funds” including government lending schemes and “a stake or equity sale,” the television news channel ET Now said in a broadcast and a tweet on August 23.

Singh had told it that “recently the airline board passed a resolution to raise the funds for its sustainability and future expansion” and that “all options are being explored.”

The company will also raise capital with the sale and lease-back of at least seven of its B737-8 MAX this year, he said.

He declined to say which other airlines SpiceJet may be in talks with about a stake sale. Earlier in the month, a media report claimed it was discussing the issue with an unnamed Middle Eastern carrier. Regardless, the latest news boosted SpiceJet’s stock price by 6%, the Economic Times newspaper reported.

SpiceJet has yet to declare its results for the fourth quarter, ending March 31, which it had originally announced for May 30 but delayed the release of, claiming that a ransomware attack on its IT systems had affected the completion of the audit process.

The loss-making carrier’s financial health worsened in 2020 after the Covid outbreak, and its market share has since plunged from second largest to fifth. As of late 2021, it had cash and cash equivalents of only INR729 million (USD9.1 million) compared with a total debt of INR97.5 billion (USD1.22 billion).

It has also been under the spotlight in recent months for a number of safety issues and for settling several long-running high-profile commercial disputes. Earlier this month, three Indian banks internally categorised loans to SpiceJet as being “high risk” even though the airline has not defaulted.