Investors eyeing airBaltic for possible stock exchange listing, says airline boss Gauss

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At the moment, investment banks are making an independent assessment of the possibility of listing the Latvian national airline airBaltic's shares on the stock exchange to attract new capital, the chief executive and chairman of the airline, Martins Gauss, told LTV's Morning Panorama show December 12.

Gauss said the airline continues to grow and this year will carry more than 4 million passengers - equivalent to more than double the population of Latvia.

airBaltic is profitable and has "become an important airline in Europe," Gauss said, adding that "maybe we'll be quoted on the stock exchange."

Independent investment bank representatives are currently assessing the airline, Gauss said, without naming any of them or specifying any dates. "They see us as one of the top candidates in Europe... that is the view from the outside," Gauss said.

"If the shareholders are okay with it and it's the right time and we have success - why not?"

However, Gauss seemed to dial back on previously-expressed hopes that airBaltic would launch a direct route to China any time soon while saying airBaltic is ready to engage in discussions to co-operate with other airlines to provide long-distance direct flights from Riga.

"We can fly up to seven hours from Rīga - beyond that we will not fly," said Gauss, "But we want to have a long-haul carrier come to Rīga as we are the perfect airline to give passengers to a long-haul carrier because of our transfer system, and then the carrier can take the passengers anywhere."

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