Qatar Airways expects to have four Boeing 787 Dreamliners flying by the end of April, the chief executive said on Wednesday.

“We should be having our airplanes up and flying by the end of the month,” said Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, during an interview following the airline’s inaugural flight from Doha to Chicago.

The airline currently owns five 787s and says a team of Boeing mechanics are set to arrive in Doha “shortly” to begin the modifications of the Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries, al-Baker said.

The 787 was ordered grounded on January 16 by aviation regulators world-wide following twin incidents with the jet’s batteries. Boeing recently completed ground and flight testing of a modified battery system and is continuing to work with the Federal Aviation Administration to return the jet to service.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said the plane maker has “not discussed any specific timeline for returning the 787 to service.”

Al-Baker said the grounding of the jet was a “very big problem for us” forcing it to rearrange its flight schedules and delay the start of some routes “in order to mitigate the serious impact.” For example, the carrier had planned to fly daily flights to Chicago, but due to the shortage of airplanes, it will only offer three flights a week until mid-June, after which it will go to daily service.

Boeing’s Birtel said the company is “engaged with the FAA to reply to additional requests and continue dialog to ensure we have met all of their expectations,” declining to elaborate.

The CEO said his airline had never had any significant issues with its Dreamliners, except for a generator and power panel issue that briefly took a jet out of service in December. Al-Baker said he believes Boeing will eventually figure out what caused the battery incidents, “And if they don’t figure [it] out, they will have a new design for the battery system.”

Boeing’s new design addresses all possible causes, said Birtel, and says “if additional changes are needed to further enhance safety, they will be made.”

Qatar Airways is one of the three fast-growing Gulf mega-airlines, which now flies to 126 cities world-wide with a fleet of more than 120 new jetliners, and more than 250 aircraft on order or option from Boeing and Airbus, including the A380 superjumbo and the new A350, Airbus’s answer to the Dreamliner. The airline, which is 50% owned by the state of Qatar, now serves four cities in the US: New York; Washington, DC; Houston and Chicago.

Al-Baker said in the interview that the airline plans to add service to Atlanta, Detroit and Boston by the early part of 2014.

Qatar Airways, like Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Emirates Airline, are the new challengers in the global airline world, as they use their Middle Eastern bases to connect passengers from around the world and bypass traditional European hubs.

Undeterred from being an early customer of both Boeing and Airbus jetliners, al-Baker said he was interested in being a launch customer for the Chicago-based plane maker’s major update to its popular 777, dubbed the 777X, due late in the decade.