x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Carrier hints at buying more planes

Qatar Airways hits out at Airbus for its new engine concept, and hints at upcoming Bombardier order.

Qatar Airways has hinted at further aircraft orders this year, and has hit out at Airbus for its new engine concept on the A320 single-aisle plane.

The airline, which has 94 planes in its fleet and nearly 200 on order, has been in prolonged talks with Bombardier of Canada over the purchase of its latest aircraft, the CSeries.

"We are progressing with putting the next phase of the business case to the Qatar Airways board and expect a decision in the very near future," Akbar al Baker, the chief executive of the airline, told the trade magazine Flight Global.

Talks with Bombardier are "very advanced", while issues surrounding maintenance costs with the CSeries's Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan engine are now "nearly resolved", Mr al Baker said.

He criticised the Airbus A320neo (new engine option) as a short-sighted plan and said he would be more interested in an all-new narrow-body design from the maker's rival, Boeing.

Mr al Baker said the Bombardier CSeries was a winner on short flights, with "far superior" operating costs to the A320neo.