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Qatar Airways to buy more Airbus A330s

Staff writer |
Qatar Airways is looking to order 10 to 15 Airbus A330s before June and might also confirm options on Boeing's 787, the Gulf carrier's chief executive officer said.

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"We are talking to Airbus for extra A330s," said Akbar al-Baker, adding that he hopes to reach agreement over the midsize, wide-body aircraft before the air show which opens June 17 in Paris.

Mr. al-Baker said that the European manufacturer will have to "sharpen their pencils," adding that those planes would fill the gap caused by the delay in Boeing's 787 Dreamliners.

Qatar Airways currently has 32 A330 planes, including cargo versions, and there is a possibility to order more Airbus A380 superjumbos, for which it has firm orders for 10 units. That doesn't mean the airline will cancel the Dreamliners. "On the contrary, we may order additional Dreamliners because we have purchase rights for another 30," said mr. al-Baker.

"I wouldn't be flying them if I weren't happy," said mr. al-Baker referring to resumption of flights following the grounding of all 787s due to battery problems. The company resumed operations on one of its five Dreamliners on May 1.

However, Qatar Airways will not stop there: the company plans to discuss a partnership with India's IndiGo airline. "IndiGo is an airline not for sale. We only want to do partnership with them. We want to do codeshare with them and we want to get into a situation where we work together, because they are the best airline in India," said mr. al-Baker.

Qatar Airways is preparing to open business in Saudi Arabia as one of two operators that won licences to serve the Saudi domestic market (Bahrain's Gulf Air has another licence). Qatar Airways will work under a different name and operate with 10 narrow-body aircraft.

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