Qatar Airways Chief Executive has said that the airline could defer deliveries by between 8 to 10 years, demonstrating how badly the coronavirus has hit the aviation industry.
Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900. Photo by Matt Lino | AeroNewsX
Speaking to Sky News, the Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said that Boeing and Airbus have been informed that his airline would not be taking aircraft deliveries of any kind for the rest of 2020 and the entire duration of 2021.
He also said that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways could defer deliveries by up to 10 years. Al Baker affirmed, however, that such deferrals could be brought forward if demand permits.
Qatar Airways’ CEO added that the carrier would be open to injecting capital into the International Airlines Group if necessary, after member British Airways announced significant redundancies sparking heavy criticism.
Particularly, British Airways was criticised for not having sought funding from the government and instead looked at cutting employee numbers to save costs.
Separately, the CEO told FlightGlobal that the airline would not be flying its Airbus A380 fleet in the near future as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
While the airline will not be flying the aircraft type “for at least a year if not more,” the CEO said it might still be at least four years before they are permanently withdrawn from service.
“I don’t think we will need more than a maximum of seven aircraft in the near term. We have already shelved the plan to upgrade the product until they retire from the fleet.”
Al Baker continued: “The oldest aircraft is only six years old so we still have another four years for its use.”
The Chief Executive noted the extent at which the coronavirus has hit the airline. More than 40% of the carrier’s fleet is grounded, amounting to nearly 100 aircraft. Al Baker added that some of these grounded aircraft wouldn’t take to the skies again once the pandemic blows over.
“Over 40% of my fleet is on the ground. Nearly 20-25% of that fleet will not fly again. We are going to ground the entire A330 fleet and a large part of our A320 fleet.”