Qatar Airways will not take on any new aircraft in 2020 or 2021, CEO says


LONDON: Qatar Airways will not accept any new aircraft on order from Boeing or Airbus in 2020 or 2021, Chief Executive Akbar Al-Baker said on Wednesday, adding that there would be a domino effect on future deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qatar Airways has ordered tens of billions of dollars worth of aircraft from the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers. But after a slump in demand for air travel, it has run out of room for new planes and will instead downsize its fleet of around 200 jets.

“A fair amount (deliveries) are being postponed. We have already informed both Boeing and Airbus that we will not be taking any aircraft this year or next,” Al-Baker said in an interview with Britain’s Sky News.

“All the other planes that we have on order that should be delivered to us within the next two or three years are now being pushed back to almost eight to 10 years.”

Al-Baker reiterated a warning to plane manufacturers that a refusal to comply with the airline’s request could jeopardize future deals between them.

“If they don’t meet our requirements, (then) we will have to review our long-term business relationships with them,” he said, adding that the airline no longer needs the 30 firm orders for Boeing’s 737 MAX that it had placed.

“We have already informed Boeing that we need to replace them with another type of aircraft…we will no longer need the 737 MAX.”

Al-Baker also said Qatar Airways will continue to support British Airways owner IAG after it increased its stake in the airline group in February.

“It’s a strategic investment. We will continue to be an investor in IAG,” he said. “If necessary, yes, we will inject equity into IAG.”

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