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Al Baker: We hope to reach an agreement with Boeing and Airbus

الباكر: نأمل التوصل إلى اتفاق مع بوينغ وإيرباص

Bloomberg / Reuters

The chief of Qatar Airways called on the world’s two major planemakers to ease demands that carriers accept delivery of new aircraft, saying future relationships are at stake.

Airbus and Boeing should allow the deferral of handovers until at least 2022, Qatar Airways Chief Executive HE Akbar Al Baker told Bloomberg TV today. Qatar Airways has about $50 billion of orders outstanding, based on list prices.

“What is important is for Boeing and Airbus to show their customers that they are not only there with them in good times, but also in bad,” he said in the interview. “If they don’t oblige, they will permanently lose us as a customer.”

The CEO said he didn’t know when passengers would begin flying again in significant numbers, and that it will take several years for traffic to return to normal.

An Airbus spokesman said the company is in contact with clients but declined to discuss specifics, citing confidentiality. Boeing declined to comment.

Al Baker also said Qatar Airways has kept going with its own resources, but that if the crisis continues and a bailout is needed it will likely seek an equity injection from government.

Support may also be forthcoming for airlines which have received substantial investments from Qatar Airways. That includes Latam Airlines Group, the largest South American airline, which filed for bankruptcy protection in New York last week.

“Of course we will come to their aid,” Al Baker said. “It’s a strategic investment for the long term.”

Carriers around the world have turned to governments for assistance as the pandemic grounds fleets. Deutsche Lufthansa, Europe’s biggest airline and a major customer of Boeing and Airbus, is working on a 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout from Germany and plans to permanently cut 100 planes.

Al Baker said customers returning to the skies should prepare to wear masks, gloves and even face shields on Qatar Airways flights. But he said leaving empty rows between passengers isn’t an option as it would boost ticket prices by at least 100% and be “an absolute disaster for aviation.” 

Qatar Airways has signed a letter of intent for 60 737 MAX jets. It will sell five that have been delivered and hopes to reach “an accommodation” over those on order, Al Baker said.

The airline plans to keep about a 20% of its fleet grounded for the foreseeable future and does not expect to fly to all 165 of its pre-pandemic destinations before 2023, Al Baker said.

Its fleet of ten Airbus A380s will stay parked until at least mid to late 2021, he added.


حذر أكبر الباكر الرئيس التنفيذي للخطوط الجوية القطرية، شركتي إيرباص وبوينغ من رفض طلبات شركة الطيران بتأجيل تسلم طائرات بسبب أزمة فيروس كورونا، ونقلت وكالة رويترز عن الرئيس التنفيذي للشركة عبر الهاتف قوله: “نتفاوض مع بوينغ وإيرباص لتلبية طلبنا للتأجيل ونأمل في أن يلتزم كلا المنتجين”. وأضاف “لا تملكان بديلا عن القبول وإذا جعلا الالتزام صعبا… لن نقوم بالعمل معهما مجددا”. وقال الباكر إنه يأمل في التوصل لاتفاقات مع الشركتين وإن القطرية ستلغي الطلبيات إذا لم يكن التأجيل ممكنا، ووقعت الخطوط القطرية خطاب نوايا لشراء 60 طائرة من طراز 737 ماكس. وقال الباكر إنها ستبيع الطائرات الخمس التي تم تسليمها وتأمل التوصل “لاتفاق” بشأن الطائرات التي طلبتها. وتابع أن أسطول طائرات الشركة من طراز إيرباص إيه380 الذي يبلغ عدده عشر طائرات لن يحلق حتى منتصف إلى أواخر 2021 على الأقل.

وتنوي الشركة أن تُبقي 20 بالمائة من أسطولها خارج الخدمة في المستقبل القريب ولا تتوقع تسيير رحلات لجميع الوجهات التي كانت تحلق إليها قبل الجائحة وعددها 165 حتى عام 2023.

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