The much-hyped launch of the English international channel from Arabic TV network Al Jazeera could be delayed, the group’s director general said.

The launch of Al Jazeera International was expected in May but this “has been delayed, probably to the summer … for technical reasons”, Al Jazeera Satellite Network director general Wadah Khanfar said.

However, contrary to Khanfar’s comments, the director of the upcoming channel Nigel Parsons still remains optimistic for a spring launch.

“We might still be launching it in the spring. We don’t know yet,” he said, adding that the network was waiting for technical installations to be completed.

“The delay – if there will be a delay – is technical,” he added.

The channel, which has changed the face of television news in the Arab world since it was founded in 1996, has faced relentless criticism from the United States over its broadcasting of footage and messages from militants.

Al Jazeera International is due to transmit from four regional broadcast centers in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington with 250 journalists based in 30 countries.

Al Jazeera International has already begun test transmissions of its service on Sky Digital. A promo has been playing on loop for the past few days. Tuning details can be found here.

Former veteran BBC TV presenter Sir David Frost will be in the forefront of the new channel.

There has also been reports recently that Al Jazeera will be launching an Urdu channel in conjunction with ARY Digital.