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Mon 30 Nov 2009 08:12 AM

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Qatar Airways CEO in new Boeing orders threat

Akbar Al Baker says he will cancel deliveries if US plane maker's 787 schedule slips again.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has reiterated his tough line on aircraft delivery delays from Boeing, saying he will "cancel the orders" if dates slip further.

Speaking on the BBC's Hardtalk programme, the airline chief criticised the US plane maker regarding the way it had dealt with the delays.

Asked if he would consider doing future deals with Boeing, Al Baker told the programme: "If this is the way they treat customers as they have tried to treat us then...yes, they will not only lose me but they will lose others."

He added that Qatar Airways had given Boeing "an ultimatum" regarding an agreed schedule for deliveries following delays to the 787 Dreamliner.

Al Baker said that if the delivery dates slipped again, Boeing would be in for a "big surprise".

In the Hardtalk interview, he stressed that the threat was real and that he "was not playing with words".

He said the ultimatum had been given because Qatar Airways had wanted earlier deliveries and the airline had prepared a termination notice but that Boeing had agreed to a new schedule for deliveries "which is convenient to us".

Speaking to Arabian Business at the Dubai Airshow, Boeing's chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney said: "In terms of the Qatar question, listen, they are unhappy with the delay we’ve imposed upon them because of our developmental problems.

“We’re working with them and I have confidence we’ll find a way together with them.”

Boeing last month reported a third-quarter net loss of $1.6bn as it booked charges on development costs for the long-delayed 787 Dreamliner and its 747-8 cargo plane. The 787, which has an all-composite fuselage, is the fastest-selling pre-delivery aircraft on record, according to McNerney.

The company has more than $15bn in orders from Gulf airlines alone, but has come under increasing pressure amid mounting delays to the delivery schedule. The aircraft is now two-and-a-half years behind schedule.

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