Qatar attacks Boeing over Dreamliner

QATAR Airways has threatened to hand extra business to European aircraft giant Airbus after attacking Boeing over problems with its new 787 Dreamliner.

Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline was considering increasing its order for five Airbus A380 super-jumbo planes and might order a re-engined version of the A320 single-aisle jetliner. He did not say how many more A380s it might order.

Qatar has expanded its fleet from four to 94 aircraft in 13 years and has orders for 200 more from Airbus and its US rival Boeing worth $40bn, including 30 Dreamliners.

Al Baker said Boeing had “failed” in developing its 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to suffer further delays following a fire on a test flight.

Boeing’s development of the carbon-composite 787 is running around three years late and brokers expect a further delay as it addresses the cause of a fire which led to the test flight being grounded two weeks ago.

Al Baker said Qatar had been notified of some delays to 787 deliveries but declined to say whether this was before or after the test flight incident.

“I was really taken aback by the [787] programme. I never expected a programme could be delayed so much with a company like Boeing, which has pride in its quality. They have very clearly failed,” he said.

Boeing declined to comment on Al Baker’s comments, but said it had determined the cause of the fire and was making changes to the jet. It expects to say more about 787 deliveries in the next few weeks. The first 787 had been due for delivery in 2008 to launch customer All Nippon Airways. Qatar has not chosen engines for the 500-seat plane and the blowout of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on a Qantas A380 would not affect it, he said.