Air says Pratt & Whitney engines not adequately tested
Send a link to a friend
[March 09, 2016]
BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of Qatar
Airways kept up pressure on U.S. engine maker Pratt & Whitney over
delays and technical problems on Wednesday, saying engines for its
Airbus A320neo aircraft had not been adequately tested.
Qatar Airways was due to be the first airline to receive the
recently revamped aircraft, but has refused to take them because of
engine glitches. Last month, it threatened to switch to alternative
engine supplier CFM International.
"I don't think this engine was tested adequately, especially for the
temperatures in which Qatar Airways will operate," Qatar Airways
Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said.
"We will only accept it when we are fully satisfied that it can
operate efficiently and safely at Qatar operations (and)...once we
get sufficient performance guarantees and undertakings from both
Airbus and Pratt and Whitney," he told a news conference at the ITB
tourism exhibition in Berlin.
"We are at the threshold of the walkaway clause in our contract but
I hope we will not have to exercise this," he added.
Al Baker also disclosed that the airline had deferred delivery of
four Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft by one year at a time when oil
prices were high.
But he said Qatar Airways was now prepared to take delivery of the
double-decker jets because of the recent drop in fuel costs.
If oil prices stay low, the airline may exercise options for another
three aircraft, Al Baker said.
While low oil prices have improved many airlines' balance sheets,
they are also depressing yields on premium traffic due to lower oil
producer spending and more conservative business sentiment, he said.
[to top of second column]
Al Baker again dismissed claims by major U.S. airlines that they
have been harmed by what they describe as illegal subsidies enjoyed
by Gulf carriers, including Qatar Airways.
Among eight routes Qatar Airways is adding this year, it plans to
start services to Atlanta on June 1, "in order to rub salt into the
wounds of Delta," Al Baker said.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> argues Gulf carriers have
breached Open Skies agreements with the United States because of
unfair state support, a charge the Middle East carriers deny.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Victoria Bryan)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.