Qatar Airways Delays Airbus Deliveries, Still Talking with Boeing

Qatar Airways has reached an agreement with Airbus SE (AIR.PA) to defer delivery of airplanes due to the pandemic impact but is still negotiating with Boeing Co (BA.N) on its future 737 MAX deliveries.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said “We have the ability to bring forward the deliveries if there is a rebound in air travel,”  of the Airbus deal at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, without providing further details.

He said the airline have not reached any agreement yet: “As far as Boeing is concerned we are still in negotiations with them, but regardless of what they feel an aircraft manufacturer needs to oblige customers in difficult times,” he said. “People who will not oblige and stand with us in this difficult time will not see us again.”

Qatar Airways had ordered 737 MAX jets for its part-owned carrier Air Italy before its collapse and it is in talks with Boeing about those planes, al-Baker said.

Additionally to the COVID-19 crisis, the Airways is also looking for a solution regarding the 30 Boeing 737 MAX it has on order. The planes were supposed to be leased to Air Italy from which the Gulf carrier has since pulled out.

The airline has 27 A350-1000s and 50 A321neos on order, according to the Airbus website. It has also ordered 60 777X planes, five 777 freighters and 23 787-9s from Boeing, the U.S. manufacturer’s website said.

The Gulf carrier reached an agreement with Airbus to delay deliveries of their airplanes. “Contractually we are having difficulties but they are very flexible with us, which we do appreciate,” Al Baker said. “We have the flexibility to bring forward deliveries if there is a rebound in air travel.” The airline has ordered 27 A350-1000 and 50 A321neo aircraft.

“I don’t mix my words, people who do not oblige and stand with us in these difficult times, will not see us again,” Al Baker concluded on the matter. Those words echo the “word of advice” he had when negotiations were still ongoing with both manufacturers.

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