Qatar Airways says in Boeing, Airbus talks

DUBAI — Rapidly-growing Qatar Airways is in “advanced discussions” with Airbus and Boeing Company to purchase new aircraft but wants certain demands to be met before concluding a deal, an airline official said yesterday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 5 May 2005, 10:34 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:05 PM

“It is a strategic decision and the company will not rush to take any decision before receiving all the answers. We are negotiating on Boeing 7E7 and Airbus A350,” Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told a news conference in Dubai.

“We’re in an advanced stage of discussions with both manufacturers and hope to conclude a deal with both or one of the two before the Paris (air) show."

“We made requests and asked for guarantees and we are waiting that they are adequately addressed by both,” said Baker who was speaking on the sidelines of the three-day Arabian Travel Market fair held in Dubai. He did not elaborate.

Baker said the airline’s 40 all-Airbus fleet would double in the next few years, following its $5.1 billion order of 18 Airbus planes and 16 options during the Paris Air Show two years ago. Qatar Airways aims to have 110 to 120 aircraft in 2012-2013.

The airline is one of the launch customers of the double-decker A380 with four aircraft on order to be delivered as of 2009.

He said high fuel prices have failed to dent expansion plans of gas-rich Qatar for the flag carrier.

“Jet fuel is affecting everybody, not only Qatar Airways or others. We pay a fuel rate which is equal to everybody else ... We are not subsidised and banks will vouch for that because they see our accounts.”

He said fuel accounted for 30 per cent of the airline’s total costs compared to 23 per cent last year.

“We have suffered $68 million above our budget in 2004-2005. This year we are expecting close to $100 million above budget ... This had a huge impact,” he added.

Baker dismissed speculation that a recent suicide bomb attack in Doha against a theatre popular with Westerners would damage the Gulf Arab state’s tourism and its airline.

“This is an isolated incident that could happen anywhere in the world ... My country is very safe. Qatar Airways has grown and people are still coming and hotels are full. The appetite for travel does not get dictated by an isolated incident.” Baker said new routes opened this week to North Africa increased Qatar Airways’ destinations to 62.

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