Qatar Airways CEO Threatens To Stop Taking Airbus Deliveries

Just under a week after saying the Airbus A380 was his airline’s biggest mistake, reports have surfaced suggesting that Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has more issues with Airbus. Al Baker confirmed an outstanding issue with the manufacturer, which might cause the airline to refuse delivery of its incoming aircraft.

Qatar Airways CEO Threatens To Stop Taking Airbus Deliveries
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said confirmed an ongoing issue with Airbus. Photo: Airbus

According to Arabnews.com, Abkar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, confirmed that the relationship between the airline and the manufacturer is not looking good. Reportedly, Al Baker said that there is an ongoing issue that has yet to be resolved. The airline is in talks with Airbus to resolve the mystery issue, but no agreement has yet been reached.

As a result, Al Baker has hinted that Qatar Airways may refuse delivery of future aircraft. Currently, the airline is due to receive 50 Airbus A321neos and 32 A350s. The airline has confirmed that it isn’t looking to place any more orders soon, but until the recent comments cast doubt, the airline had planned to take delivery of all the aircraft currently on order.

Qatar Airways CEO Threatens To Stop Taking Airbus Deliveries
Qatar Airways still has 50 Airbus A321neos on order, and the issue may impact delivery. Photo: Qatar Airways

What’s wrong with Airbus?

Abkar Al Baker was tight-lipped on what the actual issue was, simply saying, “I, unfortunately, cannot tell you what that issue is.” Airbus is also not divulging any information. Whatever the issue is, it is “serious” enough for Al Baker to point out that, unless resolved, it could cause Airbus “stress in the relationship with IAG, with LATAM, with other airlines in which we have a shareholding.”

In a recent interview with Simple Flying, Al Baker did call the A380 one of the airline’s biggest mistakes, citing operational costs and inefficiency for his opinion. However, the A380 is not the source of the current issue, with Al Baker calling it “water under the bridge.”

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A real issue or just a threat?

These comments are the second time Al Baker has hinted at a problem with Airbus. He first mentioned an issue back in early May. Since then, he has confirmed the airline does plan to take delivery of its current orders. Perhaps the airline will push deliveries, instead of canceling orders. The airline previously deferred deliveries from both Airbus and Boeing during the height of the pandemic last year.

Qatar Airways CEO Threatens To Stop Taking Airbus Deliveries
Despite previous comments, Mr Al Baker said he would happily order A350 Freighters. Photo: Qatar Airways

In addition, speaking to Simple Flying, Al Baker confirmed that if either Airbus or Boeing came out with a new, super-efficient aircraft, Qatar Airways would be first in the queue to sign up. He also confirmed that Qatar would happily be the launch customer for an A350 freighter. Clearly, whatever the issue is, it isn’t affecting the CEO’s future plans yet. However, two comments in a month on the same issue imply that the two companies are not near a conclusion.

Mr Al Baker doesn’t usually mince his words. He has been outspoken on several previous issues, including his thoughts on the A380 and comparing British Airways to a low-cost carrier. So, his comments aren’t a complete shock. Whatever the issue is, a swift resolution will ensure passengers can enjoy traveling on Qatar Airways’ new A321neos.

What do you think the issue could be? Do you think Qatar Airways will really refuse the delivery of new aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.  

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