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No IPO, no budget carrier: Qatar Air

Suresh Pattali / 17 November 2012

Shooting down scepticism over Qatar Airways’ ability to take delivery of all its plane orders, chief executive officer AkbarBacker Al Baker said the airline doesn’t buy such expensive assets to park them or to show an inflated fleet size, but to serve the economic interest of the Gulf nation.

Talking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of a Seattle event to mark the delivery of the Middle East’s first Boeing 787 order on Monday, Al Baker said the carrier had no plans to float an initial public offering (IPO) or to start a budget airline for the time being.

He said the world economy would take some time to recover, so the situation is not right for an IPO launch. He also said he is also too busy expanding the company to think about a budget airline and venturing into outside markets like India. He, however, said Qatar Airways would keep all its options open.

Al Baker came down heavily on his sceptics. “Qatar Airways is an airline that doesn’t buy aeroplanes just because we want to increase our fleet. We buy aeroplanes to use commercially for generating revenue,” the CEO told a Press conference later in Doha.

“We did not order just for you to know the numbers. We cannot afford to park these expensive assets,” he shot back when asked about the airline’s confidence to take delivery of all its orders.

Al Baker said Qatar Airways would look at any aircraft that gives savings in fuel consumption as it still has a shortage of airplanes.

He expressed Qatar Airways’ interest in becoming the first customer for Boeing’s proposed 787-10, the biggest variant in the family that can carry around 300 passengers.

“Boeing tells us that it will be of the best seat-mile costs of any aircraft that is flying today. As Qatar Airways is always looking at new innovations in our business, we will be very interested in the 787-10,” Al Baker said.



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