Qatar Airways passengers will have to wait a while longer before boarding an A320neo, the airline’s CEO has indicated.
Speaking at the Singapore Airshow this week, Akbar Al Baker said there is a “long way to go” in fixing the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney engines and that he expects a “very huge” delay in receiving the planes, Bloomberg reported.
Al Baker added that Qatar Airways will seek compensation over the hold-up, which he previously said was having a “large financial impact” on the carrier as it works to address a capacity shortage.
However, speaking to Bloomberg this week, the CEO said that falling oil prices have prompted fewer people to travel, increasing the airline’s available capacity.
With regards to the delays, the outspoken chief executive underscored that he blamed Pratt & Whitney, and not the plane manufacturer:
“Let me be very clear: it is not the fault of Airbus. Airbus has delivered all their part, and as you know, no airplane can fly without an engine. And they have huge issues with the engine,” he told reporters, according to Reuters.
The A320neo is a single-aisle aircraft designed for use on short and medium-haul routes. It is outfitted with Pratt & Whitney engines that help reduce the plane’s fuel consumption by approximately 15 percent, according to manufacturer Airbus.
Qatar Airways was expecting as late as mid-December to take delivery of its first of 50 A320neos by the end of 2015, but rejected the plane over its engine performance.
Al Baker previously suggested there were problems with the plane’s engines in the high temperatures that Qatar experiences.
Yesterday, Pratt & Whitney told Reuters that fixes for the issues identified by Al Baker are currently being installed.
Separately, Al Baker also blasted a decision by the Indian government to auction off air traffic rights.
“It is not in the interest of India to restrict foreign airlines from operating freely in the Indian air space,” he said at the airshow, according to the Press Trust of India.