Qatar Airways to defer A380 deliveries
Dubai, April 30, 2012
Qatar Airways will defer delivery of its A380 superjumbos until it gets more details about wing cracks on the Airbus aircraft, its chief executive said on Monday.
European air safety regulators ordered checks in February for Airbus A380 wing cracks for the entire superjumbo fleet after safety engineers found cracks in almost all the planes inspected.
"Qatar Airways will have to defer scheduled deliveries of its A380s from October 2013 until we have a clear position on the issue surrounding wing cracks which are under process of modification by Airbus," chief executive Akbar al Baker said at Dubai's Arabian Travel Market show.
Qatar has an order for five A380 aircraft pending and was due to receive the first of these next year. In January, Al Baker said he was confident Airbus would fix the cracks on its flagship aircraft but did not rule out delaying delivery if the problem persisted.
Airbus said last week it was slowing down production of the world's largest aircraft as it develops a long-term solution to premature cracks in some of the brackets inside the wings but insisted it would stick to its schedule of delivering a total of 30 A380s this year. It says the plane is safe to fly.
Al Baker also said the airline pulled out of talks with Spanair after Spanish regulators said state aid given to the loss-making carrier had to be repaid. Spanair halted operations in January.
"The only reason we pulled out of Spanair is when state-aid got involved. Regulators said all state aid received by Spanair needed to be paid back. We are not interested in such business," he said, but added that the Spanish airline had huge potential and would have added a lot of value for Qatar Airways.
Al Baker said his fast-growing airline aimed to cover 170 destinations and have an equal number of aircraft in the next three years.
He said the airline would imminently order 10 aircraft from Canadian planemaker Bombardier to bolster its corporate jet business. The order is valued at $700 million. - Reuters