Qatar Airways says A350 delivery on schedule; plans order in Dubai

Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:18am EDT
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By Amena Bakr and Praveen Menon

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar Airways, the launch customer for Airbus's EAD.PA A350, expects the European planemaker to start delivering the aircraft by the second half of next year and plans to order more planes next month, the airline's chief executive said on Tuesday.

The Gulf carrier has ordered 80 A350 jets.

"We are confident that Airbus will deliver the A350 by the second half of 2014," Akbar al Baker said on the sidelines of an event to mark Qatar Airways' entry into an airline alliance.

His comments were in line with Airbus's program chief Didier Evrard, who had said earlier that the aim was to deliver the lightweight aircraft in the second half of 2014.

The A350, designed to compete with Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) 787 Dreamliner and the larger Boeing 777, staged its maiden flight in June. Airbus now has two aircraft flying and has notched up 75 flights and over 370 hours of flight tests.

Last week, Boeing's chief executive acknowledged that the 787 had below average dispatch reliability - which refers to how often a plane leaves on time. But al-Baker said that was not the case with the aircrafts owned by Qatar Airways.

"We have above average reliability with our 787s because we take care of them."

He added that the airline was not interested in the new stretched version of the Dreamliner, the 787-10X.   Continued...