Delivery of the first Airbus A350-900 to launch customer Qatar Airways has been postponed indefinitely for unspecified reasons.
The MSN6 aircraft was due to be handed over to Qatar Airways this Saturday 13/Dec in Toulouse followed with a formal ceremony scheduled to take place on 15/Dec at Doha's Hamad International airport.
In a statement, the airline says the delivery has been postponed but does not explain the reason: "Qatar Airways announces that the Airbus A350 aircraft ceremonial transfer of title has been postponed until further notice."
It adds: "With the imminent launch of the new Airbus A350 programme, both entities are committed to introducing the A350 very soon."
Airbus does not elaborate on the situation either, saying: "We are working very closely with Qatar Airways to meet our common goal to deliver their first A350 XWB very soon."
Meanwhile, Airbus CEO Tom Enders told investors at an event in London on Wednesday, “The plane is ready, it’s on the tarmac, I’m confident delivery will be very soon.”
News of the delay caused a stir in the aviation industry, and the price of Airbus shares fell 10.4% in Paris today, but experts say that the move does not signal larger problems with the A350.
While the airline did not cite a reason for the postponement, Jason Rabinowitz, a research manager at Routehappy.com who specializes in commercial aviation manufacturers, said that he doubts the delay means that the A350 has engineering issues. “It’s par for the course with Qatar at this point,” he said. “The delay isn’t totally shocking. Qatar is a very exacting airline when it comes to minor details. This wasn’t a technical or engineering issue -- it was most likely due to the interior.”
This isn’t the first time Qatar has refused delivery of a new Airbus plane. The airline delayed delivery of its first Airbus A380 by 3 months earlier this year due to concerns about the interior.
It’s unclear whether the delay will change the inaugural flight date planned for 15/Jan between Doha and Frankfurt, but Rabinowitz expects the matter to be resolved quickly. Both Airbus and Qatar have signaled as much, he said. And Qatar has not announced a change of date for the plane’s inaugural service.
Based on the article “Qatar Airways A350 delivery suffers last-minute delay” published in FlightGlobal and based on the article “Qatar Airways Refusal Of First Airbus A350: Looks Bad But No Cause For Concern, Expert Says” published in International Business Times.