Qatar Airways may cancel B787 orders, warns CEO

Setbacks in development of Boeing's new plane worry Akbar Al Baker.
The 787's test problems are starting to worry Akbar Al Baker.
The 787's test problems are starting to worry Akbar Al Baker.


Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said he may have no alternative but to cancel orders for the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner if there are further delays in its delivery.

The fast-growing airline has ordered 30 787s, plus 30 more as an option, although technical and labour problems with the ultra-modern part-composite aircraft has left the jet nearly three years behind its original schedule.

“We are still expecting to receive our 787s contractually by the end of 2011,” Al Baker told reporters at the opening of a new passenger arrival terminal in Doha on Saturday.

“I still have confidence that Boeing will overcome all the issues with its aircraft and that test flights will resume before the end of this month.”

When questioned whether further delays could lead to a cancellation of the Qatar Airways order, Al Baker replied: “If there is another slippage, then yes, we will have no alternative. But as of today, I have confidence in Boeing that they will deliver the aeroplane as per their contractual obligation.”

The CEO added that he did not think there would be another delay in the 787’s delivery.

“The reason for the 787 delay was not anything technical, or to do with software, it was maybe to do with some workmanship issues, which maybe Boeing has resolved,” he said.

Test flights for the Dreamliner were halted in November due to an onboard fire, and Boeing is yet to announce its new delivery schedule. It has now been over a year since the aircraft’s first test flight.

Qatar Airways is one of the model’s biggest customers. UAE national carrier Etihad Airways also has 35 firm orders for the 787.

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