Qatar Airways has cancelled its first Airbus A320neo jet and remains at an impasse with the European plane maker over delays in deliveries caused by engine problems, its chief executive said yesterday.
Akbar al-Baker said the carrier would soon start talks with alternative engine supplier CFM, and had held talks with rival plane maker Boeing over switching to 737s, but was not yet walking away from Airbus. “We will switch to the Max if we cannot resolve our issue.
We will go to current option 737s and convert it to Max,” he said, adding he was sure Boeing could find production slots if needed.
The airline announced in May it was reducing the frequency of more than a dozen regular routes from Doha because of hold-ups in the delivery of new planes from European manufacturer Airbus. The delays are having an impact on Qatar Airways’ bottom line, but the carrier said it is not seeking compensation, al- Baker told reporters on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Dublin.
“We are 5 aircraft down this summer. This is why we are screaming because it is making a huge impact on my bottom line,” al-Baker told journalists.
“We are still at an impasse. We have walked away from our first A320neo because it is more than a certain number of days late, so exercised a walk away clause,” al-Baker said, adding the carrier would exercise walk-away clauses on the other four delayed planes when they reach the time limit.
He added he is also still waiting for deliveries of three A350 planes, which have been held up since February due to issues with cabin equipment.
He said he expects Airbus to deliver 10 of the planes as promised this year and that he had met with the CEO of Airbus’s plane making unit Fabrice Bregier and programme executive Didier Evrard yesterday to “iron out the issues”.
“The ball is in court of Airbus. We will start delivery of the airplane delayed from February imminently, provided the issues we have are resolved,” he said, adding the A350 problems were likely to be resolved before the A320neo issues.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is not interested in buying any more A380 super jumbo jets, nor is it interested in a possible stretched version of the larger version of the A350 plane, al-Baker said.
“We already have 777-9X and I think the aircraft that we bought will do the job we want it to do,” al-Baker said of the potential stretched A350.