Posted on December 19, 2010

Qatar Airways will undergo an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2012, its CEO has said.

“We were profitable in the last financial year and we are well on the way for profitability in the current financial year, and we have already started a mechanism to prepare ourselves for an IPO in the third financial year,” CEO Akbar Al Baker told reporters in Doha.

He later clarified that the airline was looking to list in 2012 but declined to say what percentage of the firm would be offered.

Al Baker also declined to mention the size of last year’s net profit, but said this would be revealed when the IPO process was underway.

The CEO was speaking at the launch of a new passenger terminal, part of a $1bn upgrade at Doha Airport. The building has a lifespan of just two year – the new Doha International Airport is set to open in 2012. The site of current airport will be sold.

The IPO would be the latest step in a huge growth plan being undertaken by the airline, which currently has 86 aircraft flying to 92 destinations. The airline, currently 50% owned by the government, launched its first flight just 16 years ago. Its latest plans include opening 13 new routes over the next year, and hitting 120 destinations by 2013.

New aircraft deliveries are averaging one a month, including the 787 Dreamliner from Boeing next year.

Al Baker said earlier this month that the airline also planned to expand heavily into South America, tapping into rising demand for international flights from Brazil and Argentina.