Tuesday, February 1, 2011

787 delivery schedule still pleases Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is still "happy" with the airline's relationship with Boeing despite the seventh delay of the Dreamliner program announced last month.

“We have [adjusted] our delivery schedule and the timeline has slipped slightly, but it does not bother me too much. I’m happy with our relationship with Boeing,” Baker told ATW on the sidelines of a Brussels press conference marking the airline’s new route from Doha to BRU. The new Airbus A330 service is operated five times weekly in a two-class configuration. BRU is QR’s 24th destination in Europe and its 98th in its global network.

QR, which has orders for 30 787s and options for 30 more, will “hopefully” receive its first two in December and six more in 2012, Baker said.

Qatar takes the first of five A380s on order in 2012. Baker reiterated previous statements that the Doha-based carrier intends to order more A380s but remained ambiguous on timing or size. “Maybe there will be an update at Le Bourget [in June],” he told ATW.

He was equally non-committal about the much-speculated order for the CSeries, which seems to be off the table in light of the launch of the A320neo. “I do not want to comment on this. This is a sensitive issue,” he said. Insiders had speculated that QR might announce a major order for the CSeries at Farnborough last year, but the order was not placed, with QR citing “maintenance cost issues” with the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan engine.

(Cathy Buyck - ATWOnline News)

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