By Deepa Seetharaman
The airline aims to be fully government-owned by the end of the year or by early 2010, its CEO says.
Qatar Airways aims to be fully government-owned by the end of the year or early 2010, a move that the carrier says will pave the way for an initial public offering, the airline's chief executive said.
Under government ownership, the airline would wait for three straight years of profitability before going public, Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told reporters on Wednesday during a media lunch in New York.
The IPO could happen sometime between 2012 and 2014, Al Baker said. During the luncheon, Al Baker said the company was profitable on an "operating basis."
"Our target was earlier, but we had to delay because of the economic situation now, because we want to be more realistic with our estimates or our forecasts," Al Baker said.
The Qatari government already holds a 50 percent stake in the carrier, which was founded in 1994.
Al Baker has been at the helm of the company since 1997 and has overseen its expansion from a fleet of four planes to 68. The carrier currently has more than 220 planes on order and aims to eventually fly to 120 destinations, up from more than 80. (Reuters)