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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Qatar Airways cancels $1.2 billion worth of Airbus orders

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Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Paris Air Show/Facebook

Qatar’s national carrier has dropped plans to buy four A350s over apparent delivery delays, manufacturer Airbus has confirmed.

Qatar Airways still has an order in for several dozen of the aircraft, which are worth some $311 million apiece at list price.

But its CEO has been complaining for months about handover delays and how they’ve been slowing down the airline’s growth.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. Credit: Qatar Airways/Flickr

In March, Akbar Al Baker said:

“I have to scream at Airbus to get my planes faster. I am nearly eight destinations behind schedule because of delays in aircraft deliveries. I hope this will be resolved during this year.”

However, when asked yesterday about whether the airline had canceled any orders, Al Baker simply said, “They (Airbus) have all our orders. They only need to deliver them to us.”

Gulf dispute

Still, an Airbus spokesperson told Reuters this week:

“We confirm that Qatar Airways has cancelled four of their contractual A350 delivery slots” due to “known supply chain issues.”

The undelivered jets “will be reallocated,” the spokesperson added.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Qatar Airways/Flickr

It is unclear why Al Baker didn’t confirm the cancelation.

The news comes at a time when Qatar Airways has grounded more than two dozen flights indefinitely.

This is because last month, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt closed their airspace to Qatar for political reasons.

With no end to the dispute in sight, one theory is that the canceled order could be a cost-saving measure.

“All the Gulf carriers realize they have ordered too many wide-bodied aircraft and don’t have room for them, especially now,” an aircraft finance industry official told Reuters.

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