Qatar cancelled four A350’s yesterday and its moaner in chief CEO Akbar Al Baker blamed Airbus squarely for the problems.
The four aircraft, at least two of which are at point of delivery, have suffered delays because of seating issues for the most part, that Qatar has been well aware of. Rather than work with Airbus suppliers to resolve them or accept compensation, Al Baker has simply cancelled them.
This leaves Airbus with a potentially enormous €160 million bill to strip out and repaint three while a fourth is ‘reallocatable’.
Qatar’s reasoning is thought to be more to do with the current blockade. $1.2 billion is saved from not buying the jets, all of the ME3 and others are well aware they over-ordered large aircraft, but pride has stuck them with volumes they could well do without right now.
It’s also a bizarre move when only late last year Qatar leased in LATAM A359’s to make up for the shortage of A350’s being delivered on time.
Qatar’s problems may run deeper than they’re letting on. Another signal not all is well can be taken from the remarkably easy way Qatar supplied 5 A320’s to British Airways on full wet lease – and will continue to do so until mid-August as the strike continues. An airline fully utilising its aircraft cannot just pull 5 aircraft and 10 sets of crew out of use at such short notice.