A little over a year ago, Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, had deemed the B787 a failure, due to all of the delays it was incurring:
He also hinted at making QTR an exclusively Airbus customer.
Well, he repeated his words last week, while also indicating that Bombardier’s CSeries also is having problems that aren’t being resolved for them:
Qatar Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker attacked Boeing Co. over the latest delay to the 787 Dreamliner and said Bombardier Inc. needs to quickly resolve issues with its CSeries jet, while suggesting that his company may be an early buyer for an upgraded Airbus SAS A320.
**The Dreamliner program has “very clearly failed,” Al-Baker said today after Chicago-based Boeing announced that it would revise the 787’s schedule following a fire on a test-version of the jet that’s already almost three years behind plan.
“I was really taken aback by the 787 program,” the CEO said at a press briefing in Paris. “We never expected that a program could be delayed so much by a company like Boeing that prides itself on bringing very high-quality product.”**
Qatar Air’s talks about an order for the Bombardier CSeries model, which has contracts from only three customers, are stalled on “commercially sensitive issues,” Al-Baker said, adding that he expects Airbus to announce a re-engined version of its single-aisle A320, dubbed the Neo, sometime this year.
Qatar has ordered, or has options to buy 60 B787s and 24 B777s.
Interestingly enough, Airbus just announced the launch of the Airbus Neo; an aircraft which QTR is considering being one of the launch customers.
Complicating things further, because of Boeing’s delays, China Eastern is now considering cancelling their B787 orders:
China Eastern considers canceling 15 787s
By Katie Cantle and Geoffrey Thomas
November 29th, 2010
China Eastern Airlines is considering canceling its order for 15 Boeing 787s owing to the aircraft program’s continuous delays, according to a CEA insider. “Most probably we [will] cancel,” the source told ATW. “We are negotiating with Boeing about choosing [a] replacement aircraft type… now.”
The cancellation would be another blow for the troubled Dreamliner program, on which flight testing was indefinitely suspended following a Nov. 9 inflight fire that began as either a short circuit or an electrical arc on the P100 electrical panel, according to Boeing. The manufacturer is widely expected to delay first delivery to ANA, currently slated for the 2011 first quarter, by another six to nine months.
On Nov. 24, Boeing said it was developing “minor design changes” to power distribution panels on the 787 and updates to the systems software that manages and protects power distribution on the airplane. It added that a revised 787 program schedule “is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.”
Bernstein Research has moved its projection for the first delivery of the 787 back six months to August 2011 and forecasts that Boeing will only deliver eight aircraft in 2011 instead of the 29 it had planned. Bernstein believes that Boeing will deliver 61 787s in 2012, 78 in 2013 and 107 in 2014.
CEA placed its Dreamliner order in 2005. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Shanghai Airlines, also has nine 787s on order; it is unclear whether CEA will cancel SAL’s 787 orders in addition to axing its 15.
CEA is planning an aggressive expansion of international services starting next year, and had planned to facilitate the growth in part through the addition of the 15 Dreamliners. It ordered 16 Airbus A330s at the end of last year to ensure it could expand even if the 787s arrived later than expected. The A330s are expected to be delivered from 2011-2014. CEA General Manager Ma Xulun told ATW the carrier will operate the aircraft on routes to Europe.
Chinese carriers have ordered a total of 57 787s, including 24 by CEA/SAL, 15 by Air China, 10 by China Southern Airlines and eight by Hainan Airlines.
This does not bode well for Boeing.