Qatar backs Airbus, Boeing over delays
Berlin, March 8, 2012
The head of Qatar Airways, usually one of the aircraft industry's fiercest critics, expressed confidence that Airbus and Boeing would resolve a series of high-profile glitches but warned against further production delays.
The endorsements from a top industry figure best known for lambasting manufacturers over delays will come as a relief to both planemakers as they count the cost of recent mishaps.
Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said it was normal for new aircraft such as the Airbus A380 superjumbo and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to have teething problems and stressed safety was not an issue.
He also seemed satisfied with Boeing's production plans for its new 787 Dreamliner, although many analysts have described the company's plans to boost production to 10 aircraft a month by end-2013 from 2.5 now as optimistic.
'The 787 will be a very good airplane. I am confident,' Al Baker told Reuters at a trade show on Wednesday.
'I cannot discuss the details, but I can tell you that they have a very achievable ramp-up strategy,' he said after being briefed on the plans for record wide-body aircraft production.
Boeing is grappling with a problem of delamination or the separation of bonded layers in part of the composite structure of its lightweight Dreamliner, while Airbus is wrestling with a series of cracks on components inside the wings of its A380 superjumbo.
'I think they will solve the problems with the A380. It is not a big issue...it is an aircraft that is in its infancy,' said Al Baker. - Reuters