Hours after publicly upbraiding , CEO Akbar Al Baker made an about-face and signed a deal for up to eight and 80 for a list price of $6.4 billion for the firm portion. The NEOs will be powered by Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans.
Both deals have been long anticipated, but were thrown into doubt earlier today when Al Baker voiced unhappiness at this year’s change in the specification of the-1000 delay and over an “impass” on the deal he eventually signed - he would not detail what the disagreement was over, only saying it was not an issue of pricing.
Al Baker says Airbus is now reviewing that plan, which has also drawn fire from Emirates Airlines president Tim Clark. But Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, says there are no plans to change the latest design. It has more range and payload than the, and 25% lower fuel burn, he asserts, adding that he plans to send a sales team to Doha to “explain” the specification of the aircraft.
The A320NEO deal is for 50 firm aircraft and 30 options, with the A380 deal split between five firm and thre options.
The A380 deal doubles Qatar’s order book for the type. The first aircraft is due in the second half of 2013, with the first from this batch of orders to arrive around 2015. The aircraft will have eight first class and 42 business class seats, with the rest in economy. The total count is around 515 seats.
The engine selection for the A380 is expected before the end of the month, with the selection process between the Engine Alliance GP7200 andalmost complete, an airline official says.
The A320NEO “will be the backbone of our future single aisle expansion,” Al Baker says. Qatar Airways will be the first operator for the A319NEO, the A320NEO, and the A321NEO. The A320NEO will come first, in the second half of 2015, followed by the A319 and A321 each six months later.
Qatar is buying 30 A320s, 14 A321s, and six A319s.
Al Baker says the deal does not kill his interest in the. “We are still interested in that airplane” and talks with Bombardier will resume once the current fleet purchases are resolved.