An Airbus executive has said that Qatar Airways will not receive its long-awaited A380 orders for another five months, prompting the carrier’s CEO to warn that he was placing no more orders for new aircraft from the company.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Akbar Al Baker issued stinging rebukes of both Airbus and Boeing this week while speaking at the Farnborough air show in the UK, criticizing them for delays in orders and the poor quality of their jets.
Qatar Airways was expecting the delivery of the first three of its total order of 13 A380s in June, to be flown first to London Heathrow, and then to Paris and New York.
However, the order of the world’s largest passenger aircraft has been repeatedly delayed to meet the airline’s “exacting specifications” for the interior of the cabin, Airbus said.
Speaking to reporters at Farnborough, Tom Williams, Executive Vice President of Programs at Airbus, said the company was working to fix issues Qatar Airways had with the aircraft.
Reuters reports that he told journalists, “I don’t see it (delivery) being an issue for year end.”
He added that the delay involved issues related to the cabin, including paint in some areas having a bubbled texture, joint lines on wallpaper and some gaps in non-textile floor coverings believed to be in the galley.
Williams also told the WSJ that existing floor coverings in this area are being removed and new flooring laid, adding: “It’s a bit of a job because it has to be done carefully. ”
The plane maker is working to ensure that the national carrier’s A350s also meet these exacting requirements, he said.
Qatar Airways has in recent years had a significant presence at the UK air show and was planning to display its A380s at this year’s event.
However, it canceled the appearance of the super jumbo last week, and has focused on displaying the Airbus A350, which Qatar is planning to launch globally by the end of 2014, as well as the A320 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The Dreamliner had its own problems last year due to technical problems that caused the planes to be grounded worldwide for three months.
Al Baker put pressure on Airbus for the late delivery of the A380s, saying in an interview with Reuters Insider TV: “I’m very disappointed with Airbus that they did not bring my A380 to show at this very important air show.”
Earlier this month, Japanese carrier Skymark Airlines said its delivery of A380s was also facing a 6-month delay due to problems with the aircraft’s interior.
Qatar would not be the only airline in the region to have A380s, as Emirates has already bought 140 of them, and Etihad is due to receive its first of the aircraft this year.
777X order in process
Meanwhile, Al Baker said that while Qatar had a letter of intent for an order of Boeing’s 777X aircraft, this had yet to be translated into an official order.
“We are not finalizing any orders, we have already an LOI (letter of intent) and that’s where we’re going to leave it for the time being,” Reuters quotes him as saying.
According to Bloomberg reports, Qatar is planning to place an order of 50 of the aircraft, in an $18 billion deal.