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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Qatar Airways CEO expects to ground more A350s

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The Qatar Airways-Airbus conflict is showing no signs of easing.

Qatar Airways’ chief executive told the South China Morning Post that the carrier expects to ground more Airbus A350s due to a paint issue and plans to lease more planes to compensate.

In an interview released on December 14, 2021, Akbar Al Baker also stated that repairing the business relationship with Airbus would be challenging.

“We can always let the water pass under the bridge and move on,” Al Baker was quoted as saying by the SCMP. “With Airbus, the damage is very severe. I don’t know how we will be able to work with them again.

“How would you expect me to ever do business again with a company that doesn’t care about the customer at all? It only cares about its financial statements and bottom line.”

The paint dispute between Qatar Airways and Airbus is becoming increasingly bitter. On December 9, 2021, Airbus announced that it was seeking independent legal opinion on the “non-structural surface deterioration” issue.

The Airbus statements were labeled as “derogatory” by Al Baker, according to the article.

On the orders of Qatar Airways’ national aviation authority, at least 21 of its 53 Airbus A350s have been grounded, according to SCMP.

According to Cirium statistics, the airline now operates 18 A350-900s and 14 A350-1000s.

“At the moment we are looking at the number of aircraft that are grounded. We will have a cushion with additional aeroplanes just in case our regulator decides to pull the airworthiness review certificate of additional aeroplanes,” Al Baker was quoted as saying.

As a result, Qatar Airways is examining how many planes it will need to lease to compensate for the lost capacity.

According to the SCMP, at least four Boeing 777s will be delivered from Cathay Pacific, with Qatar Airways eager to add more 777s from the carrier.

As a result of the A350 dispute, Al Baker has ruled out ordering the freighter version of the plane.

“I was looking very positively at freighters. But they have destroyed that relationship,” Al Baker said. “I don’t think that they will ever get a single size of order that we would have placed for the freighter.”

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