Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Still learning how to make aircraft, but I am buying 55 of them

The European plane maker Airbus was subjected to deep public humiliation this week by one of its most important customers!

Qatar Airways accused the aircraft maker of “still learning how to make aeroplanes”. Akbar Al Baker, the outspoken chief executive of the expansionist Gulf carrier, used the platform of the Dubai air show to strongly criticise Airbus’ new widebody aircraft, the A350, and to threaten to pull a big order for other planes. 

He gambled on fear of a potential massive order loss to get a much better deal from Airbus.   It's been reported although not confirmed that his public bashing of Airbus saved his company nearly $20,000 on each of the 55 air frames he later ordered.   

The order for 55 aircraft with Airbus is worth $6.4bn at list prices, but we know that the list price is nowhere near the price Qatar will be paying. 

Qatar is the launch customer for the manufacturer’s popular new narrow-body plane, the A320 Neo. The gulf airline currently has a fleet of 103 aircraft, which Mr Al Baker expects to increase to 170 by 2016. 

Mr Al Baker told a morning press conference that he didn't feel he could go anywhere with Airbus, over a “large” order of planes. “Unfortunately I feel Airbus is … still learning how to make airplanes,” he said. Mr Al Baker piled on further embarrassment on the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company complaining its planned new A350 long-haul aircraft was taking so long. 

Qatar have ordered 50 of the A320 Neo short-haul aircraft and five A380 superjumbos.

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