Qatar Airways Looks at Up to 30 Boeing 737s in Place of A320neos

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A protective cover sits on a wing engine fitting of an undelivered Airbus Group SE A320neo passenger jet, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., as it stands on the tarmac at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in Toulouse, France, on May 15.

Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Qatar Airways is in discussions about purchasing as many as 30 Boeing Co. 737 airliners amid a dispute with Airbus Group SE over unresolved faults with its A320neo model. 

The carrier, which has canceled delivery of one A320neo due to glitches with engines made by Pratt & Whitney, will continue rejecting the plane until the issues are fixed, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London. The No. 2 Persian Gulf airline is focusing on potentially switching planes and hasn’t made progress on talks about swapping to the A320neo’s alternative engine, made by the CFM venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA, he said.

Qatar Airways is looking at both the NG and the upcoming Max versions of the single-aisle 737, Al Baker said. The Max, scheduled to enter service in 2017, will be Boeing’s direct rival to the A320neo and any inroads by the U.S. planemaker would be a coup. Airbus has said that United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt has begun supplying engines that have fixed the cooling flaws and will begin delivering planes equipped with those powerplants this month.

The airline is also concerned about delivery rates of Airbus’s A350 wide-body, Al Baker said, adding that he isn’t sure the European manufacturer will be able to meet its target of handing over 50 of the model to customers this year. Qatar Airways has only received one A350 out of 10 scheduled to be delivered this year.

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