SYDNEY/DUBAI – Qatar Airways has struck a deal with Airbus SE to delay delivery of airplanes due to the pandemic-induced travel downturn but remains in talks with Boeing Co about deferrals, the airline’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
“We have the ability to bring forward the deliveries if there is a rebound in air travel,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said of the Airbus deal at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, without providing further details.
Al-Baker said the airline had not reached an agreement with Boeing.
“As far as Boeing is concerned we are still in negotiations with them, but regardless of what they feel an aircraft manufacturer needs to oblige customers in difficult times,” he said. “People who will not oblige and stand with us in this difficult time will not see us again.”
Qatar Airways said in June it would not take any new planes ordered from Boeing or Airbus in 2020 or 2021, adding there would be a knock-on effect to future deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline has 27 A350-1000s and 50 A321neos on order, according to the Airbus website. It has also ordered 60 777X planes, five 777 freighters and 23 787-9s from Boeing, the U.S. manufacturer’s website said.
Qatar Airways had also ordered 737 MAX jets for its part-owned carrier Air Italy before its collapse and it is in talks with Boeing about those planes, al-Baker said.
Airbus and Boeing did not respond immediately to requests for comment.