Qatar Air Says A350-800 Has No Future as Airbus Vows to Proceed

Qatar Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said he was told by Airbus SAS that the smallest variant of its new A350 plane wouldn’t see the light of day and dropped his order, a claim the manufacturer disputes.

The A350-800 remains a “key member of the A350 family,” Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said in a statement in response to Al Baker’s comments to journalists at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin today.

Qatar, the first customer that will fly the A350 wide-body plane, pulled out of its order for 20 A350-800s in December and switched into a bigger model. Airbus said at the time that dropping the smallest of its three A350 variants would leave it with an unprotected flank against Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliner.

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