By Martin Morris
Air carrier's chairman warns order under threat due to French gov't pre-judging cause of recent crash.
Yemenia indicated on Tuesday it may cancel a $2 billion aircraft order from Airbus because the French government is pre-judging the cause of the recent Indian Ocean crash.''We are not receiving cooperation from Airbus and some of the French people are really against us,'' Chairman Abdulkalek Saleh Al-Kadi, said in a telephone interview from the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.''
''If they pre-judge the result of the accident before the investigation, tell me how we handle this?'' news agency Bloomberg reported.
A final decision ''will depend on the cooperation between us, Airbus and the French,'' Al-Kadi said.
A Yemenia Airbus A310-300 with 153 people on board came down in the Indian Ocean just before it was due to land in the Comoros Islands, en route from Sana’a. One girl survived.
Yemenia, which is 51 percent owned by the government and 49 percent by Saudi Arabian Airlines, placed an order for 10 Airbus A350 planes in 2007.
France had banned the specific crash aircraft from French soil back in 2007 after faults were found in a test, Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau later confirmed.
Bussereau added he was investigating whether picking up passengers in France in one plane and then transferring them to a possibly less safe one in another location was allowable.
"A few years ago we excluded this plane from national soil because we considered that it had a number of irregularities," Bussereau told parliament.
"The question we are asking ... is whether you can collect people in a normal way on French territory and then put them in a plane that does not ensure their security. We do not want this to happen again.".