Qatar CEO Al Baker considers upgauging Airbus order

Qatar Airways is considering switching at least some of its current order for Airbus A320neos to the larger A321neo model, the Gulf carrier has confir

Qatar Airways is considering switching at least some of its current order for Airbus A320neos to the larger A321neo model, the Gulf carrier has confirmed.

CEO Akbar Al Baker made the comments during a press conference in Doha Dec. 12.

Qatar Airways has 50 A320neo-family aircraft on order, comprising 34 A320neos and 16 A321neos. So far this year, the airline has refused to accept four A320neos because of a start-up restriction with the type’s new Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines. Al Baker has said he is prepared to continue to refuse to accept A320neos as they are scheduled for delivery until the problem is solved. Pratt has stated that the problem has been resolved, though it is contending with GTF production ramp-up challenges that are affecting the number of GTFs it is able to deliver this year.

A Qatar Airways spokesman confirmed Dec. 13 the airline was considering moving part of its order to A321neos, but said there were no further details of how many might be under consideration or whether this would mean advancing the delivery dates of the first A321neos.

Al Baker was also reported by Reuters as saying he was considering changing the A320neo engine choice to the rival CFM International LEAP-1A engine; this could not be confirmed by the airline spokesman.

Since the Qatar Airways-Airbus dispute over A320neo deliveries erupted, Qatar Airways has announced a letter of intent for up to 60 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, although at least some of these are understood to targeted for re-equipping Italy’s Meridiana, in which the Gulf carrier plans to take a 49% shareholding.

Source: December 2016

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