Qatar bought 30 of the long-haul airplanes as part of a $13.5bn order in 2007, and retains an option to buy a further 30.

Since then however, the US manufacturer has twice delayed production, hitting a number of airlines across the Gulf that have based their expansion plans on the new model (MEED 11:4:08).

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker says the airline will consider purchasing a number of Airbus A380 superjumbos to cover the shortfall as the company continues its rapid international expansion. Qatar has ordered 200 aircraft for delivery over the next decade, including options.