Earlier today Lucky wrote that despite Qatar announcing A380 service would commence first in June 2014 but then pushing it back weeks at a time, it has now refused delivery of the aircraft.
Qatar’s CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker won’t say what’s wrong with the planes or why the order was rejected.
Back in November at the Dubai Airshow, Qatar Airways, in a joint conference with Emirates, announced orders for fifty 777X aircraft of their own. CEO Al Baker noted that despite telling reporters Qatar would not purchase the airplane, he decided to order them anyway. However, CEO Al Baker, told Reuters that the airline is not ready to finalize an order for 50 Boeing 777X aircraft.
Of course, Al Baker emphatically denied Qatar was joining the oneworld alliance and then a mere 8 days later came out with an announcement that Qatar would join oneworld.
This isn’t the first time that Al Baker has played games with aircraft orders. From November 2011:
At this moment, in Dubai, Boeing is his best friend, while announcing Qatar Airways will buy two additional Boeing 777 freighters, Mr. Al Baker called it the “best freighter aircraft” in the world today. Just a month ago, CargoLux, in which Qatar has a sizeable ownership share, gave Boeing a whole lot of grief, refusing to take delivery of their 747-8F freighters at the very last moment.
…Qatar Airways walked away from a deal it was negotiating with Airbus for the A320neo (new engine option) and some additional A380s, leaving Airbus to call off the press conference at the very last minute. In addition to the above issues, it is understood that Al Baker wants Qatar Airways to be the launch customer of the A320neo. This, after Airbus has already booked over a 1,000 aircraft orders from customers across the world.
In rejecting A380 orders, Al Baker says Qatar and the aircraft manufacturer “are at an impasse.”
It’s not the first time he’s used precisely that term. With Airbus.
As far as Airbus is concerned, we have reached an impasse. We thought we would conclude our agreement and make a very large announcement today. Unfortunately I feel that Airbus is still learning how to make airplanes,” Al Baker said. If the impasse can’t be resolved “we will say bye-bye” to the deal, he warns Airbus.
He’s had choice words for Boeing in the past, too.
Here’s the thing. How can this guy make a credible commitment to anyone? There’s big dollars at stake, so partners and suppliers keep coming back for more. They’re willing to do business with someone whose pronouncements are so frequently just false. Surely he does not even believe what he says (because if he does, and changes his mind with such extremes so quickly, he’s likely diagnose-able).
Qatar isn’t even honest when refusing to honor mistake fares. And in their days prior to joining oneworld had been known to oversell premium cabins and downgrade passengers on award tickets issued by partner airlines. They’ve had some controversy over how they treat employees, too.
And yet with American AAdvantage award routing rules loosened to allow more travel through Doha on Qatar, they’re a very useful partner to have. For passengers, it seems, as well as for aircraft manufacturers. Who keep coming back for more, despite total recognition that the only time this airline CEO lies is when his lips are moving.
What sort of theory does this represent, and what kind of consequences if any exist for Qatar from this sort of behavior? For instance, do manufacturers charge Qatar more than they otherwise would — a risk premium? I’d sure love to know.