Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker has told Airbus he will refuse to take delivery of any more of its aircraft if they don’t fix a mystery problem.
However, sources have told Reuters the issue actually revolves around the painting of an A350 due for delivery to the Persian Gulf carrier.
Al Baker told Bloomberg on Monday that if the problem with the aircraft does not resolve quickly, their relationship will be at serious risk.
“If we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them,” threatened Al Baker.
Not only would this affect Qatar and Airbus’s relationship, but several other companies Al Baker has shareholdings in, including IAG Group, LATAM of Latin America, and British Airways.
Notably, no clear information has surfaced revealing the contents of the dispute. “I unfortunately cannot tell you what that issue is,” said Al Baker.
Airbus also refuses to comment on the specifics.
“We are in constant talks with our customers. The content of these discussions we keep confidential,” a spokesperson claimed.
This matter is not isolated, as Qatar has faced numerous issues with Airbus over the years, concerning quality control and delivery threats.
The A380 wide-body aircraft from the European planemaker was one of Qatar’s largest purchase regrets. “There is no future for the A380,” said Al Baker earlier this year.
This issue began when problems with the aircraft’s wings arose in 2012. Sixty-eight A380’s delivered to Qatar Airways all appeared to have tiny cracks in the wings. Al Baker threatened Airbus to amend these issues by delivering entirely re-manufactured aircrafts.
In 2016, supply chain issues with the A350 long-range, wide-body jetliner surfaced. Al Baker criticised Airbus for “losing steam” in resolving these continuous issues, especially as its largest customer. No detailed information was revealed, but Al Baker said it concerned problems with “supply chain”.
Most recently, however, was Al Baker’s threats towards Airbus and Boeing to halt aircraft deliveries during the height of the pandemic last year. He hoped the planemakers would “oblige”, however, deferrals like this, especially in a pandemic, cause huge financial penalties on both ends.
Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, hoped that the two companies would find an alternative route rather than halting deliveries altogether.
Over the years, Airbus and Qatar’s relationship has been significantly strained by continuous quality control issues and threats, however, the latest poses the question of whether their partnership will withhold many more.