Qatar Airways cuts flights due to aircraft shortage

A350 XWB

Airbus

A350 XWB

Some Qatar Airways passengers could find themselves bumped onto other flights this summer as the national carrier reduces the frequency of 15 of its regular routes.

The move is in response to aircraft delivery delays, an airline official said. The affected destinations include three US cities and a new service to Adelaide in Australia.

Other affected cities include Copenhagen, Jakarta and Manchester, all of which are losing one flight a week starting this summer, according to industry tracking website Airline Route.

Additionally, the launch of direct service to Sarajevo is being pushed back by nearly two months.

In a statement to Doha News, a spokesperson said the service reductions are due to holdups in receiving new planes from European manufacturer Airbus.

“We are making selective flight cancellations in several markets … due to a delay in Airbus aircraft deliveries.

We are minimizing the impact on our passengers as much as possible, and accommodating them on other flights that suit their travel needs.”

Qatar Airways said affected customers are being notified of changes to their itineraries and could call the airline at 4023-0000 if they have any questions.

‘Unhappy customer’

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has previously publicly voiced his displeasure about delays in receiving new planes from Airbus.

An A320neo test flight

Airbus

An A320neo test flight

Late last month, he said the carrier could walk away from its order of Airbus A320neo aircraft after finding problems with the plane’s hydraulics and software.

“We have talked to Airbus, they know very well that we’re a very unhappy, very unhappy customer,” Al Baker said at the time.

Qatar Airways had already rejected an initial delivery of A320neos due to issues with how the engines performed at high temperatures, such as those commonly experienced in Doha.

The airline was scheduled to take delivery of the first of of up to 80 A320neos by the end of 2015. The single-aisle aircraft is designed for use on short and medium-haul routes.

Meanwhile, the airline is scaling back Australia service due to delays in deliveries with Airbus’s new long-range plane, the A350.

“This is causing me great concern because it is impeding our growth,” Al Baker told The Australian earlier this month.

“Airlines order aeroplanes to grow or to increase ­frequency, or to replace older ­aircraft. If we don’t receive our aircraft according to planned ­delivery dates, then we have to pull back.”

Photo of Adelaide for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar Airways/Flickr

Photo of Adelaide for illustrative purposes only.

During the interview, Al Baker did not say what was causing the delays.

However, Reuters has cited unnamed sources as saying that A350 deliveries have been hindered due to shortages of cabin equipment, and that Qatar Airways has voiced concerns about the reliability of parts and equipment supplied by a specific subcontractor.

Affected routes

According to Airline Route, Qatar Airways has adjusted the scheduled frequency on 15 of its routes between June and October due to “aircraft redeployment.”

The affected services include:

  • Doha – Adelaide: Reduced from seven to six flights weekly between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30;
  • Doha – Birmingham: Reduced from eight to seven flights weekly from Aug. 1 to Oct. 29;
  • Doha – Boston: Reduced from seven to six flights weekly from July 6 to Sept. 28;
  • Doha – Copenhagen: Reduced from 14 to 13 flights weekly from Aug. 3 to Sept. 30;
  • Doha – Houston: Reduced from seven to six flights weekly from June 5 to Aug. 28;
  • Doha – Jakarta: Reduced from 21 to 20 flights weekly from July 10 to Sept. 30;
  • Doha – Manchester: Reduced from 16 to 15 flights weekly from Aug. 2 to Oct. 29;
  • Doha – Miami: Reduced from seven to six flights weekly from June 1 to Aug. 30;
  • Doha – Nairobi: Reduced from 21 to 20 flights weekly starting July 7 and then 18 weekly flights from July 29 to Oct. 29;
  • Doha – Philadelphia: Reduced from seven to five flights weekly from Aug. 1 to Aug. 29;
  • Doha – Phuket: Reduced from 11 to nine flights weekly from Aug. 3 to Aug. 31;
  • Doha – Pisa: Reduced from seven to four flights weekly from Sept. 8 to Oct. 29;
  • Doha – Sarajevo: Planned service launch on Sept. 7 is postponed to Nov. 2 with three weekly flights;
  • Doha – Stockholm: Reduced from 10 to nine flights weekly from June 1 to June 30. Additionally, service will be reduced from 10 to eight flights weekly from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30; and
  • Doha – Vienna: Reduced from 12 to 10-11 flights weekly from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31.

In a statement, an Airbus spokesperson declined to respond to Qatar Airways’ statements or discuss its delivery schedule with the Gulf carrier.

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