Qatar Airways has refused to take delivery of four Airbus SE A350-900 jets and is set to scrap its orders for the planes, according to sources.
The Persian Gulf carrier declined to take the wide-bodies amid issues with quality control and cabin specifications, sources said . The cancellation may be reflected in Airbus’s monthly order data on Thursday, one sourcesaid.
Based in Toulouse, France, Airbus wasn't immediately available for comment. Qatar Air is both the biggest buyer of the A350, with 80 orders before any cancellations, and the launch customer, taking its first plane in December 2014.
The Mideast airline, ranked number one worldwide by ratings service Skytrax, has a history of declining aircraft that fail to meet its exacting standards, with chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker having previously turned down deliveries of A380, A320neo and earlier A350 planes.
At the same time, the carrier is grappling with a dip in demand for Mideast travel together with curbs on flights due to airspace bans imposed by Arab neighbors over Qatar’s links to Iran.
Cancelled orders won’t immediately impact growth plans, with Qatar Air having agreed in March to lease four A350s from Latam Airlines Group , in which it owns a 10 per cent stake, for four to six months. The South American company doesn’t immediately need the jets because of a dip in demand in the region.
Qatar Air has 19 A350-900s in its fleet, including the Latam planes, together with orders for 28 more of the baseline variant plus 37 larger A350-1000s, of which deliveries are due to commence before the end of the year.
The Gulf airline is separately operating nine of its narrow-body A320 jets for the British Airways arm of IAG, in which it has a 20 per cent stake, during a strike by cabin crew at the UK operator's London Heathrow hub. – Bloomberg