The earliest that Latvian airline airBaltic is planning to float on the stock exchange is 2023, chief executive Martin Gauss said on September 8, 2021.
The carrier is 96% owned by the Latvian state, which approved a further €90 million of equity for the carrier on August 17, 2021.
airBaltic intends to repay the government funding it has received during the pandemic by listing shares on the stock market in an initial public offering (IPO).
“We will go to the stock exchange to return the money. The money is not a gift, we will have to return it,” Gauss told an online event hosted by CAPA-Centre for Aviation.
Gauss said, though, that airBaltic wanted to wait until operations were back to normal. The airline now does not expect to be back at pre-pandemic levels in 2022, he said, meaning 2023 would be the earliest point for an IPO.
“2022 we are planning as a year where we will be below 2019,” Gauss said.
airBaltic has an all Airbus A220-300 fleet. It will be operating 32 of the aircraft by the end of this year and will take delivery of a further 18 over the next few years.
It has an option for another 30 of the jets, which Gauss said airBaltic could exercise, depending on the recovery from the pandemic.