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Sun 11 Jan 2009 12:28 PM

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Qatar Airways seeks compensation over delivery delay

Gulf carrier in talks after expansion plans hit by delays to 787 Dreamliner.

Qatar Airways said on Sunday it was in talks for compensation after its expansion plans were affected by the delayed delivery of Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner.

Ali al-Rais, executive vice-president of the airline, said no new delivery deadline has been set yet.

"They already know they have been at fault," he told reporters in Dubai. "They know that the standard clause will kick in."

Qatar Airways, which has a fleet of more than 60 planes and has been rapidly expanding, has about 200 planes on order including 30 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing pushed back the schedule for its troubled 787 Dreamliner for the fourth time last December, making its new plane almost two years late.

Rival Airbus, a unit of European aerospace group EADS, was forced to pay hundreds of millions in dollars in compensation after its A380 superjumbo fell two years behind schedule. Now Boeing may face similar claims from carriers affected by fresh delays.

More than 50 airlines are waiting for 892 Boeing 787s, worth a combined $145 billion at list prices. The 787 has been held up as the U.S. plane maker makes slow progress on assembling planes and struggles with other delays.

On Sunday, Rais told reporters the carrier expected to receive its A380 orders by 2011 to coincide with the opening of a new airport. The airline has ordered five of the world's largest passenger plane from Airbus.

He added that he "wouldn't be telling the truth if I said we weren't having trouble financing ... planes," but noted that a consortium of banks were still behind the airline.

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Peter 11 years ago

The Boeing mob were the first to be gleeful when Airbus had its delay problems with the A380, but now the hand of God has come to spank the unworthy as the Screamliner slides more and more into delays. For all the cost savings the new plane boasts, if it doesn't fly soon and enter service it will have lost its sheen. Qatar should have simply gone with the A350, because at least the Europeans listened to what the customers wanted.