airBaltic announces 2023 at the earliest for IPO to reimburse state aid

The earliest Latvian airline airBaltic plans to go public is 2023, chief executive Martin Gauss said on September 8, 2021.

The carrier is 96% owned by the Latvian state, which approved an additional € 90 million of equity for the carrier on August 17, 2021.

airBaltic intends to repay government funding it received during the pandemic by listing shares on the stock exchange as part of an initial public offering (IPO).

“We will go to the stock market to return the money. The money is not a gift, we will have to return it, ”Gauss said at an online event hosted by CAPA-Center for Aviation.

Gauss said, however, that airBaltic wanted to wait until operations returned to normal. The airline now does not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, he said, which means 2023 would be the first point for an IPO.

“2022, we anticipate a year where we will be below 2019,” Gauss said.

airBaltic has a fleet entirely in Airbus A220-300. It will operate 32 aircraft by the end of the year and will take delivery of 18 more over the next few years.

It has an option for 30 more jets, which Gauss said airBaltic could exercise, depending on the recovery from the pandemic.

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