Coronavirus: Qatar Airways says no new aircraft until 2022, cancels Boeing 737MAX

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi. (File photo: Reuters)

Qatar Airways will not take delivery of any new aircraft until 2022, CEO Akbar al-Baker told UK-based Sky News Wednesday.

Al-Baker added that the airline had cancelled its Boeing 737 MAX order and would replace any 737 MAX aircraft it already had with other airplanes.

“Quite a lot of (deliveries) will be deferred. We have already notified both Boeing and Airbus that we will not be taking any airplanes this year or next year,” he said in the interview with Sky News.

“All the other aircraft that we have on order that were supposed to be delivered to us within the next two or three years, will now be pushed back to as long as nearly eight to 10 years.”

On Qatar Airways’ investment in British Airways owner IAG, al-Baker said the airline would continue to be a strategic investor in IAG, adding that Qatar Airways would be willing to inject equity into IAG should it be needed.

Last week, al-Baker warned Airbus and Boeing against resisting the airline’s requests to defer aircraft deliveries, in a battle over who should bear the strain of the coronavirus crisis.

Qatar Airways has ordered tens of billions of dollars of aircraft from the world’s two biggest planemakers.

But after a plunge in demand for air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, it says it has no room for new aircraft and will instead shrink its fleet of around 200 jets.

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

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

With Reuters

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Last Update: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 KSA 16:04 - GMT 13:04
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