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Posted On: 12 January 2009 09:29 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Turbulence hits expansion plans

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Qatar Airways confirmed yesterday it was in talks with Boeing over compensation for delayed delivery of 787 Dreamliner aircraft but said it had no trouble financing the planes. “We have absolutely no financing problems,” a source in the airline told The Peninsula yesterday. Since the delivery of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane is due next year but delays are expected, compensation talks with the US aerospace giant are on. “I can confirm to you this,” the source said. Qatar Airways, the country’s national carrier, is one of the biggest customers of Boeing and placed orders, including options, for 60 Boeing 787 aircraft and they are to be delivered over a four-year period, between 2010 and 2014. Meanwhile, executive vice-president of the airline, Ali Al Rais, told a news agency in Dubai yesterday that no new delivery deadline for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners had been set. He also confirmed that his airline was in contact with Boeing and holding talks for compensation. “They already know they have been at fault,” Al Rais was quoted as telling reporters. “They know that standard clause will kick in.” He said the airline’s expansion plans had been affected by the delayed delivery of 787 Dreamliners. Boeing pushed back the schedules for its troubled 787 Dreamliner for the fourth time last December, making its new plane almost two years late. Qatar had originally expected a 12-month delay, but as of yet no new schedule was set. “We have not banked totally on the 787 and do have an agreement with Airbus ... We will not be hassling our supplier, there is compensation and we are discussing the schedule.” Al Rais was further quoted by the agency as saying that the carrier expected to receive its orders for five A380 by 2011 to coincide with the opening of a new airport in Doha. Qatar Airways, which begins flights to Houston on March 30 to tap into the US energy hub’s close links with the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, expects to receive at least 12 Boeing 777s in 2009, Rais said. Rais said it had become a “tougher market” for financing, but the airline had sovereign guarantees and a consortium of banks that were supporting it. In December, the carrier, which is looking to expand to at least 120 destinations from 83 at present within five years, raised $500m to purchase three Boeing 777. According to Al Rais, Qatar Airways had no bid for Greece’s state-owned Olympic Airlines. “We have never been interested in taking any other airline or any other ventures…We never bid for it.”