Bloomberg News

Qatar Air Plans ‘Multi-Billion-Dollar’ Jet Order Next Month

October 06, 2011

(Updates with CEO’s comments on route, IPO plans starting in third paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar Airways Ltd., the Middle East’s second-biggest carrier, plans to place a “multi-billion-dollar aircraft order” at the Dubai Air Show next month, Chief Executive Officer Akbar al Baker said today.

The Gulf airline already has orders outstanding for more than 200 aircraft with a value in excess of $40 billion at list prices, Al Baker said at a press conference in Oslo, without specifying what new planes he’s interested in.

Qatar Airways failed to place an order for Airbus SAS’s A320neo at the Paris Air Show in June after earlier suggesting it would sign a contract for the jet, a re-engined version of the European manufacturer’s single-aisle model. Al Baker used the same event to indicate that any plans to buy Bombardier Inc.’s rival CSeries plane were on hold.

Qatar Air also aims to announce a route to Helsinki “imminently,” the CEO said today, after the Doha-based carrier began flights to Norway yesterday. It already operates to the Nordic capitals of Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Al Baker said it’s unlikely his company will go ahead with an initial public offering until the expansion program is done. Qatar had been considering a sale to help fund its strategy of establishing Doha has a hub for long-haul travel between North America and Europe and the high-growth economies of Asia.

“I don’t think it’s the right time,” Al Baker said.

Qatar Airways currently operates about 100 aircraft to more than 100 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Americas, and plans to serve more than 120 routes by 2013 with a fleet exceeding 120 planes.

--With assistance from Tamara Walid in Dubai. Editor: Chris Jasper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Oslo at okinnander@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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