Qatar Airways eyes 11% rise in passengers

UPDATE 1: CEO says he expects to carry 14m passengers in the fiscal year, ending in March.

Qatar Airways expects to carry 14 million passengers in the fiscal year that ends in March, an 11 percent rise from the previous year, CEO Akbar Al Baker said in an interview in Doha on Sunday.

The company may start a low-cost carrier if budget airlines erode the company’s market share, Al Baker added.

Qatar Airways said it expects to receive its first Boeing 787 plane in September next year and a total of three in 2011, Al Baker said.

“There was a deadline,” Al Baker told reporters. Boeing “has obliged.”

Al Baker said in July in New York that the airline would receive the 787s in the second half of 2011, about a year later than originally planned. Qatar Airways threatened to cancel orders if the planes were further delayed, Al Baker said today.

“We are looking for accelerated delivery,” Al Baker said.

Qatar Airways, which is half owned by the Persian Gulf country, operates a fleet of 76 aircraft flying to 85 destinations.

It plans to expand to 120 planes by 2013 with orders for Boeing and Airbus SAS aircraft, the company said in a statement.

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