DOHA (Bloomberg) - Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al Baker has threatened to stop taking deliveries of Airbus SE jets this year because of an unspecified “serious” disagreement, a warning that could hamper the planemaker’s recovery plans.
“If we are not able to settle that serious issue we have with them, we will refuse to take any aircraft from them,” the CEO said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Falling out with Qatar Airways, al Baker warned, will cause Airbus “a stress in the relationship with IAG, with LatAm, with other airlines in which we have a shareholding.”
The subject of the spat? “I unfortunately cannot tell you what that issue is,” al Baker said.
Airbus won’t say either. A spokesperson for the Blagnac, France-based company said it’s in constant talks with customers about their requirements, and that details on those discussions “remain confidential.”
Qatar Airways is among Airbus’s most important customers, particularly as the manufacturer considers competing with U.S. rival Boeing Co. by moving into marketing cargo carriers. It’s a position that has allowed al Baker to put pressure on Airbus or lampoon the company in public, from threatening to cancel orders or delay deliveries to accusing Airbus of being incapable of building planes.