Qatar Airways signs $6.5b deal with Airbus

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By Kevin Scott and Shweta Jain, Staff Reporter and Senior Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Qatar Airways finally announced a $6.5 billion (Dh23.8 billion) deal with European planemaker Airbus yesterday at the Dubai Airshow after a frantic day of negotiations and public frustration.

    *  Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News     * Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, with Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s vice-president for sales Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, signing a contract at the Dubai Airshow.
* Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News * Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, with Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s vice-president for sales Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, signing a contract at the Dubai Airshow.

The Doha-based carrier made an order for 50 of Airbus’ new generation A320neo (new engine option) aircraft with a further 30 on option, together with five additional A380 super-jumbos and three options for a total of 88 narrow- and wide-bodied aircraft.

However, that agreement looked doomed just hours earlier when Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways chief executive officer, announced an “impasse in negotiations” and declared that Airbus was “still learning how to make aeroplanes” without elaborating on the reasons for his anger.

Impasse

The Doha-based airline was expected to make an announcement earlier with Airbus during the show for an additional five A380s and approximately 50 of the A320 neo — the revamped version of Airbus’ smallest range aircraft. However, the airline cancelled the briefing and instead announced a deal with Boeing in dramatic fashion.

Asked to elaborate on reasons for stalling the Airbus order, Al Baker, said: “We have reached an impasse with them [Airbus]. We thought that we will conclude our agreement and make a very large announcement. Unfortunately, I feel that Airbus is still learning how to make airplanes. More info

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