Shares of India's troubled Kingfisher Airlines plunged to a record low Tuesday on fears that a government move to allow foreign airlines to pick up stakes in domestic carriers may be delayed.
Kingfisher shares tumbled as much as 17.15 percent to a low of 14 rupees, while budget airline SpiceJet lost 2.35 percent to 29.15. Rival Jet Airways also was down 0.67 percent to 342.8 rupees.
Kingfisher had climbed from a previous low of 14.95 on April 2, on hopes the aviation proposal would soon be cleared.
The cabinet was expected to decide on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in aviation, but media reports say the government is now more likely to discuss the matter first with all its allies before giving a nod.
The government last year suffered a humiliating climbdown when it was forced to backtrack on a proposal allowing foreign supermarket chains into India, amid parliamentary opposition and protests from shopkeepers and unions.
FDI in aviation is seen as a lifeline to companies such as cash-squeezed Kingfisher Airlines, controlled by billionaire liquor baron Vijay Mallya, which is in desperate need of funds to implement a turnaround plan.
Foreign airlines are barred from holding stakes in Indian airlines though other overseas investors can hold up to 49 percent.
Mallya, known as the "King of Good Times" for his flamboyant lifestyle, has been lobbying hard in support of proposals to allow foreign carriers to buy stakes in Indian airlines.
Kingfisher has scaled down its operations dramatically in recent months -- stopping international operations completely -- and now has the smallest market share among Indian airlines at just 6.4 percent.