Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi) keeps an "open mind" about a potential bid for the state-owned Air India later this year, the Singaporean carrier's general manager for India David Lim has told Reuters.

It is unclear whether Singapore Airlines is considering taking part in the privatisation of the Indian flag carrier alone or through its existing Indian joint-venture with Tata Group, Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l).

The Indian government plans to formally invite potential investors to submit initial bids for Air India later in March. In January, it changed the law to allow foreign entities to own up to 49% of the carrier, hoping to attract more interest from abroad. IndiGo Airlines, Jet Airways, and SpiceJet have already signalled they may submit initial bids.

The privatisation will concern Air India together with Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int'l), while the other members of the Air India Group will be hived off either to separate companies slated for divestment or to be retained by the government.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, the Singapore Airlines Group is a major international player in India despite Vistara only operating domestically so far. Singapore Airlines currently operates 58 weekly round-trips to India, while its subsidiaries Scoot and SilkAir operate 40 and 37 weekly flights respectively.