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Wed 9 Jan 2013 05:22 PM

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Qatar Airways chief dismisses 787 safety fears

CEO Akbar Al Baker says reported incidents on new Boeing plane are 'teething problems'

Qatar Airways chief dismisses 787 safety fears

Qatar Airways' chief executive played down safety concerns over Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft on Wednesday, dismissing a series of recent incidents involving the plane as "teething problems" and saying he had no plans to cancel orders.

"Of course there will be teething problems from time to time, but this is foreseen with any new aircraft programme," Akbar al-Baker told reporters at an event in Doha on Wednesday.

Qatar Airways is the largest customer of the Dreamliner in the Middle East with an order for up to 60 of the aircraft - 30 firm orders plus an option on acquiring 30 more. It currently has a fleet of five 787 jets.

"Since the first issues we had with our newly-delivered airplanes, we've had no other technical issues with the fleet of five Dreamliners we are operating now," he added.

Japan's All Nippon Airways Co cancelled a Dreamliner flight scheduled to fly from Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan to Tokyo on Wednesday due to brake problems.

This came just a day after a fuel leak forced a 787 operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its take-off at Boston's Logan International Airport. An electrical fire on another 787 forced cancellation of a JAL flight to Boston from Tokyo.

Qatar Airways' outspoken chief executive supported the US planemaker and said the incidents at Logan may have been isolated.

"It could be a production issue with one of the components which caused the smoke. I'm sure if it was something serious, the FAA would have grounded airplanes. This was not the case, so it could be that this was an isolated issue."

Baker said he had no plans at the moment to cancel any plane orders with Boeing.

"When we have to start grounding planes, then it becomes an issue and then they (Boeing) have to get their cheque book out," Baker said.

Baker had earlier said that he would demand compensation from Boeing for grounding aircraft.

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Unimpressed Passenger 6 years ago

Recently flew on a dreamliner flight with Qatar Airways from london in the economy class. Completely unimpressed with the plane as i felt claustrophobic with little breathing room. The person in front of me reclined his seat and honestly felt like he was sitting on my lap. May be i am wrong but the aisle were far smaller than an airbus and the flight attendant needed to have a driving license to navigate the food cart without smashing it into the elbows of passengers sitting on an aisle seat

Just wanted to share the experience. On the bright side, the airplane was spanking new which was nice.

behrooz 6 years ago

cant wait to fly with one of these Dreamliners either Qatar,Emirates or Etihad all of them are great airlines..

Peg 6 years ago

This is the guy who had PLENTY to say about the A380's when Emirates recieved their order. It would serve Qatar airways right if Emirates carried out a full P.R. assasination of their new 787's. What goes around comes around!

Abdul hafeez Sheikh 6 years ago

Qatar Airways has emerged as one of the Good air line in the world . Everybody has full confidence on the air line . I think the management of Qatar airways can nto afford any serious accident which could jeopardize their hard earned reputation . Their competitor are safety conscious and may be in search of any opportunity to exploit any shortcomings

jane 6 years ago

Thanks for the heads up. (I was going to try next month, now I will not). Qatar's CEO needs a reality check sometimes.
It is disgusting isn't it and they get away with it. Fuel is cheap here and local airlines take full advantage, but give nothing back. It is a sickness with Middle and Far Eastern carriers to abuse passengers with piddly seating, just because they can. Anybody Dubai dotes on anything Emirates, yet their seating is appalling and then they allow children to fly free sometimes and sit them two to a chair next to fully paid up passenger. On the 330's there's a box under most seats. Obscene.
On the other hand, I flew Qatar to Buenos Aires on the 777-300 and although I was in the rather stupendously over exuberant biz class, I had a colleague down the back, so I went and sat with him. The leg room was the best I have seen on any of the long haul and for those extreme distances essential. Little Air Arabia has excellent space.

Qatari 6 years ago

I agree with you. The seat is very tight and not that comfortable.

Abdul hafeez Sheikh 6 years ago

Qatar Airways has emerged as one of the Good air line in the world . Everybody has full confidence on the air line . I think the management of Qatar airways can nto afford any serious accident which could jeopardize their hard earned reputation . Their competitor are safety conscious and may be in search of any opportunity to exploit any shortcomings

John Thomas 6 years ago

Unreal - Qatar's Akbar Al Baker just ragged on Boeing and the problems with this aircraft a few weeks back going as far as saying - "we don't buy airplanes to put them in museums" referring to the 787 and the fact they had to ground it. AB ran that piece; now all of a sudden he flip flops????? What's the payoff from Boeing? a couple free 787's?? - stick to your principles or say nothing at all; flip flopping like this is not good and just reflects bad on you and the airline!! I know for a fact that most suppliers and even airplane manufacturers detest working with Qatar primarily because of their CEO and his insane demands; that combined with the fact that the people running the airline do not know whether they are coming or going, does not paint a pretty picture.... Stick to your stories Mr. CEO!

AB - no redacting please - either you publish or you don't - thank you,

ozan opsin 6 years ago

I flew from Doha to Dubai at her third schedule,she is an fantastic plane ,good design details indise,never thought about its missing safety,latest generation of the tecnology

Tom Wilson 6 years ago

The 787 has implemented leading edge technology, not bleeding edge. The 787 truly is revolutionary and was greenfield technology that now, others will emulate. As to the people complaining about the seating being tight and the aisles being tight, that has NOTHING, I MEAN NOTHING to do with the airplane, but with how the airline itself designs its aisles, seats and slides on the seats (distance between seats front and back). Emirates is famous for how they squeeze every mm out of every seat, where the seats are very narrow and that economy basically chokes the space both left and right and front and back. They want you to spend that money to upgrade to what is ridiculously priced business class seats. Otherwise you just grin and bear it. Its tight already before a person reclines a seat back toward your seat. These airplanes are very expensive, as they should be, and the airlines must make their own judgement on how to align the seats. So you have to pick what is most important to you.