Qatar Airways will be accepting no deliveries of any Airbus or Boeing aircraft this year or next. Akbar Al Baker, the company’s CEO told Sky News this afternoon that he had notified both manufacturers of the decision.
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis and reduced demand for air travel, the Gulf carrier’s move will come as a major blow to both manufacturers, which are struggling with decreased demand for their aircraft across the board.
Al Baker said: “We have already notified both Boeing and Airbus that we will not be taking any aeroplanes this year or next, and all the other aircraft we have on order that were supposed to be delivered to us in the next two to three years, will now be pushed back to as long as eight to ten years.”
Qatar Airways’ move to postpone deliveries does not appear to be a request, but more of a demand: “Both of them should know, that if they don’t oblige to our requirements, we will have to review our long term business relationships with both of them.”
Meanwhile, the company’s chief executive confirmed that Qatar Airways would be willing to inject equity into IAG if needed. The airline group, which owns British Airways, has come under fire in recent weeks for cutting jobs and changing employment contracts, all while not accepting additional state-aid.
“If it’s necessary, yes we will inject equity into IAG Group because it is a long-term investment by Qatar Airways,” he said.
Al Baker also took the opportunity to comment on the UK Government’s decision to implement a 14-day quarantine for arriving international passengers.
“I don’t think that it was a really good idea to introduce quarantine at the tail end of the pandemic. In my opinion, this should have been introduced in the beginning and not at the end.”