Qatar Airways being "difficult" on A350 launch, says Airbus boss

Daisy's picture
Daisy

European planemaker Airbus still plans to deliver its first A350 wide-body plane to launch customer Qatar Airways this year, but is aware that it is working for a "demanding" customer, its chief executive said on Friday.

Qatar recently rejected some aircraft from Airbus due to what it described as concerns over the quality of cabin fittings, finally taking delivery of its first A380 superjumbo last month after a three-month standoff.

After gaining European safety approval for the A350 last month, Airbus is now working to get the cabin furnishing ready for Qatar.

"We know it will be difficult to have it accepted because they are very demanding on quality, but it's a good start," Fabrice Bregier, the chief executive of the planemaker, told journalists in Berlin after the group signed a tentative deal to open a new plant in China.

"We believe at least one aircraft will be delivered this year, but the customer has the final say," Bregier added.

The A350 is Airbus's newest, most technically advanced jet.

The A350-900 version, the first to enter service, will compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, while the larger A350-1000 is due to enter service in 2017 and will compete with the Boeing 777.

Qatar's first A380 meanwhile performed its inaugural flight from Doha to London on Friday.