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Emirates says IPO a possibility for its long-haul carrier

The Dubai-based airline Emirates may become a publicly traded company.

The president of Emirates said Tuesday that it could happen as the city-state tries to boost its local financial market, while promising that its fleet of iconic double-decker jumbo jets would soon fly the skies again.

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It could be the next move made by the city-state after announcing plans this month to list its state-owned electricity company and other government-backed firms to raise liquidity and expand the local Dubai Financial Market so it can compete with bigger counterparts in the region.

Tim Clark of state-owned Emirates told reporters at the aviation show that a proposal to sell shares of Emirates “is out there” after his boss, Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, commented on the possibility.

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Clark described Emirates, long the jewel of the state-linked companies that make up what analysts call “Dubai Inc.,” as attractive to future investors.

“The pandemic has set us back, of course, but as you know the profitability of Emirates is a well-known fact,” he said. “We will restore that in the next six, eight months. We’re already on the path to do that.”

Due to the pandemic, Emirates grounded dozens of its iconic Airbus A380 double-decker jets.

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Returning its 120 A380s to the skies is key to Emirates’ recovery, and Clark said the airline must service the debt on them. He was blunt about the planes’ value to Emirates, noting that 80% of the carrier’s profitability came from the planes before the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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