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Friday, January 21, 2022

Qatar Airways escalates ‘mystery spat’ with Airbus


The Qatar-based carrier is to halt its Airbus deliveries this year as tensions over “serious issues” remain unresolved. 

Qatar Airways warned that “serious” issues with Airbus SE may result in a decision to halt deliveries, a move that could significantly affect the French plane manufacturer’s recovery plan.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker warned any escalations in the all ready existing dispute with Airbus would necessitate a response from the Qatari flag carrier.

 “We have an issue with Airbus we need to settle, and if we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them,” Al Baker said.

“I unfortunately cannot tell you what that issue is,” he told the TV.

Unresolved problems with QA will cause Airbus “a stress in the relationship with IAG, with LatAm, with other airlines in which we have a shareholding,” the Qatari warned.

Just days before the warning, the airline chief criticised Airbus’ giant A380 jets for their inefficiency and operational costs. 

However, he said that problem with the aircraft was “water under the bridge” and not the main trigger for the latest dispute.

Airbus has not revealed any information on the matter.

A spokesperson for the France-based company confirmed it is closely following issues with clients, though “details on those discussions remain confidential.”

Read also: Qatar Airways to refund cancelled quarantine packages in 14 days

Award-winning Qatar Airways has been among a few airliners that have managed to soar to new heights despite the crippling Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline is expecting to fly to more than 140 destinations by mid-summer. Recently, it added some new routes to its list, including Seattle and San Francisco.

However, with a near global halt to travel, the ongoing pandemic has impacted the carrier on a financial level, receiving some $3 billion in support from the Qatari government to weather the turbulence.

This year, the carrier is set to receive planes from Airbus and Boeing Co., Al Baker said, noting Qatar Airways will be the launch client for Boeing’s highly anticipated 777x in 2023.

The Qatar-based carrier ordered 60 of the new model, which has been described as the “world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet.”

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