787 delay won't impact Qatar Airways, Etihad
Despite yet another delay in the testing process for Boeing’s landmark 787 ‘Dreamliner’ passenger jet, the major Gulf airlines who have bought into the aircraft say their delivery schedules remain unaffected.
The 787, which is the first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction, was originally scheduled for delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways in May, will now not be delivered before mid-February next year.
The cause for the latest delay was a blow-out to a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 test engine in the UK earlier this month.
While neither Boeing nor Rolls Royce would comment on media speculation as to whether the engine problem was an “uncontained failure” – a serious occurrence that could bring down an aircraft in flight – the incident clouds the appearance of the 787 at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK earlier this month.
In the Gulf, Qatar Airways signed a deal in 2007 to buy 30 787s, with another 30 more on option, although it plans to use GE rather than Rolls Royce engines.
The Qatari flag-carrier had been seeking deliveries in 2011, but struck an agreement with Boeing last year to have its first jet scheduled for 2013 instead.
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways told Arabian Business that its delivery plans had not been affected by the latest delay.
The UAE’s Etihad Airways has 35 firm orders for the airline, with 25 options. As with Qatar Airways, its plans for later deliveries have also left the carrier unaffected.
“Etihad is not scheduled to take delivery of the first two of its B787 Dreamliner aircraft until 2014. Etihad has been in close contact with Boeing, and the manufacturer is confident there will be no impact to our scheduled deliveries,” a spokesperson told Arabian Business.
Elsewhere, Royal Jordanian has ordered 11 787s, four of which will be leased. The airline expects these to join its fleet in 2013.