“We always welcome competition [in the region] and have significant expansion plans for the region and internationally. But we have no plans to privatize for at least 10 years,” he said.
Speaking in Doha, Al Baker said the original plan to take the airline public, tabled before the international financial crisis hit in 2008, had been shelved then and was not in the cards for the near future.
“We will expand aggressively, but think that at the moment private investors do not have the stomach to invest like [the airline] needs to,” he said.
Al Baker suggested that taking the airline public now would expose it to the vagaries of the stock market, and in the current economic environment climate, that was not the best option for the company or for Qatar.
He also said that with the current downward volatility in the price of oil, the carrier would be reducing its fuel surcharge on tickets. “There will be no reduction in ticket fares, but there will be a reduction of the fuel charges levied on passenger tickets,” he said.
This move by Qatar will likely trigger similar fuel surcharge cuts by competitor airlines in order to prevent a price-driven market shifts in the competitive Middle East marketplace.
Qatar formally received the world’s first Airbus A350-900 in Doha on Wednesday.