Qatar’s flag carrier is looking to expand its narrow-body aircraft fleet
Qatar’s flag carrier Qatar Airways is planning to further expand its narrow-body fleet and hopes to conclude talks with Canada’s Bombardier over the purchase of up to 30 C-series regional jets by the summer.
But the airline’s chief executive Akbar al-Baker says that if Europe’s Airbus does decide to equip its jets with the new engines then Qatar Airways will consider buying aircraft from Airbus rather than Bombardier.
Airbus is currently planning to re-launch its A320 regional jets with a new engine that would also be powered by advanced Geared Turbofans (GTF).
GTF engines will reduce the operating costs for airlines and will also cut carbon dioxide emissions by about half.
“We have indications that Airbus is looking seriously into re-engining its narrow-body fleet with a new engine, GTF-powered. If this is available, then I will be happy because it will create competition between the GTF C-series [Bombardier] and [Airbus],” says Al-Baker.
The first C-series engine will have a full testing in August and is expected to come into service in 2013.
Many airlines in the region are focusing on narrow-body and regional jets as they are cheaper to operate.
Qatar Airways now has a fleet of 82 and serves 89 destinations.
Qatar Airways currently has $40bn worth of new aircraft that is pending delivery and the airlines will take delivery of its first Boeing 777 freighter aircraft in the next week.
Total new aircraft on order include 80 Airbus A350 aircraft, 60 Boeing 787 aircraft, 15 Boeing 777 aircraft, 20 Airbus A320 aircraft and five Airbus A380-800 aircraft.
The carrier is expanding its fleet to accommodate long-term plans to expand its network to 120 destinations by 2013.
In the first four months of 2010, the carrier launched routes to Bengaluru, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Ankara and is scheduled to launch routes to Barcelona, Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires in June.