There’s no better source of drama in the airline industry than the delivery of Qatar Airways’ A380 (though the battle for Seattle is in the same league). Qatar’s A380 delivery schedule has been pushed back seemingly indefinitely, and the only explanation that has been provided is that it’s due to “issues with the aircraft interior.”
My theory has been that Qatar wants to launch some super-impressive first class product overnight to compete with Etihad’s new Residences cabin, which Emirates has said they’ll match. However, that’s a process that takes years and not months.
Up until now we’ve seen Qatar Airways’ A380 delivery delayed more often than a regional jet out of JFK Airport during a winter storm:
- In late April, Qatar Airways announced they’d launch A380 service to London as of June 17, 2014
- In mid May, Qatar Airways announced they’d launch A380 service to Paris as of July 3, 2014
- In late May, Qatar Airways announced they’d delay their A380 service to London until July 1, 2014
- In lat(er) May, Qatar Airways announced the A380 would be further delayed by “several weeks” due to some “fine tuning of the interior”
- In early June, Qatar Airways stopped accepting first class reservations on flights that were scheduled to be operated by the A380
- In mid June, Qatar Airways announced they’d delay their A380 service to London until at least August 1, 2014
- In early July, Qatar Airways announced they’d delay their A380 service to London until at least September 1, 2014
- In early July, Qatar Airways announced they’d delay their A380 service to London until at least October 1, 2014
Well, it looks like this mystery just got even more exciting, if that’s possible. Qatar was supposed to display their A380 at the Farnborough Air Show this week. But what’s amusing is what His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, has to say about it. Via Flightglobal:
“It is not here because we are in an impasse with Airbus,” Al Baker tells Flightglobal. “We refused to take delivery of our three A380s that are already ready in Hamburg and were supposed to be delivered to us over the month of June.”
Al Baker declined to specify the reasons for the delay, saying “I think you better ask Airbus”. He previously blamed the hold-up on “certain issues affecting the interior of the cabin”.
The airline chief would also not say when he expected deliveries to begin, referring questions about the likely revised schedule to Airbus.
I think we need to call Andy Cohen so we can have a three part Bravo show where he sits down with Airbus and Qatar. It might just be juicier than the Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 6 Reunion (if that’s possible).
This isn’t Airbus’ first rodeo. Surely there’s nothing actually wrong with the aircraft, or at least not anything that would take months to fix. And if it were something on Airbus’ end, surely His Excellency would be publicly ragging on them.
As much as I like ragging on His Excellency, in a way he’s really growing on me. There’s simply not a person in the airline industry with as much conviction as him. He’s totally ridiculous, and the best part is that (I think) he knows it.
So, does anyone have any guesses as to what’s causing these delays? I’m out of ideas…
(Tip of the hat to @2tsieRole)