Qatar Air says Boeing 787 delay affects expansion

State-owned Qatar Airways said on Sunday its expansion plans have been affected by the delayed delivery of Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner and the Gulf Arab airline is in talks over compensation.

Ali al-Rais, executive vice-president of the airline, said no new delivery deadline has been set yet.

"They already know they have been at fault," he told reporters in Dubai. "They know that the standard clause will kick in."

Qatar Airways, which has a fleet of more than 60 planes and has been rapidly expanding, has about 200 planes on order including 30 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing pushed back the schedule for its troubled 787 Dreamliner for the fourth time last December, making its new plane almost two years late.

Rival Airbus, a unit of European aerospace group EADS was forced to pay hundreds of millions in dollars in compensation after its A380 superjumbo fell two years behind schedule. Now Boeing may face similar claims from carriers affected by fresh delays.

More than 50 airlines are waiting for 892 Boeing 787s, worth a combined $145 billion at list prices. The 787 has been held up as the US plane maker makes slow progress on assembling planes and struggles with other delays.

On Sunday, Rais told reporters the carrier expected to receive its A380 orders by 2011 to coincide with the opening of a new airport. The airline has ordered five of the world's largest passenger plane from Airbus.

He added that he "wouldn't be telling the truth if I said we weren't having trouble financing ... planes," but noted that a consortium of banks were still behind the airline.

NO INTEREST IN OLYMPIC AIRLINES

Rais said the Qatari carrier has not bid for Greece's state-owned Olympic Airlines.

"We have never been interested in taking any other airline or any other ventures," he said. "We never bid for it."

Last year, Greece said Qatar Airways was among companies that had expressed an interest in buying state-run Olympic Airlines group.

The Greek government split the loss-making airline into three parts last September and launched a tender to sell them off as part of its privatisation plans.

The plan, approved by the European Commission, had called for the tender to close by the end of 2008, ending years of failed attempts to privatise Olympic. 

 

 

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