Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Qatar Airways delaying 787 delivery

Well U Turn Al (Akbar Al-Baker for the uninitiated), the CEO of Qatar Airways, is at it again.  The bane of both Boeing and Airbus is now saying that Qatar Airways won't accept any 787s until the FMS (fan mid shaft) in each of his 787s are replaced.  Currently 10% of the 787s he ordered is outside at Everett waiting to be delivered.  The demand defies logic in the face of the investigation and recommendations made by the NTSB, FAA, GE and Boeing.  Thus far the cracks of the FMS is attributable (it appears) to the coating on the FMS.  GE is altering the way it applies the coating but it does not appear that the FMS has to be changed out in total unless crack have been discovered. The FA also has put out recommendations for airlines to inspect the FMS every 90 days for cracks.  With action on the issues facing the GEnx engines, airlines are continuing to fly the engine on both the 787 and 747.  U Turn Al is trying to leverage this issue for more compensation from GE it appears.

The whole issue of the delays is further clouded by other possible reason for the delay:

1) Refurbishment of the interior after Qatar insisted that Boeing displays its first 787 at the Farnborough Air Show. 
2) Wholesale change out of the interior which necessitated the aircraft to go to California to have the interior changed out by the OEM as Boeing couldn't do it.
3) Issues with the IFE/WIFI system that Qatar had bought from Thales.

So the bottom line is when will deliveries commence? A source has told me that deliveries should commence no earlier than the end of October but don't be surprised if this is pushed even beyond that.  At the end of the day this is not Boeing's fault but rather the actions of a press hungry, attention seeking, egomaniacal airline executive.

Boeing is also waiting to deliver the 1st 787 built in Charleston to Air India.  Once again (unsurprisingly) the delivery is being held up by the Government of India. ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) is ready to be delivered but there is no word on when from Boeing. It was expected last week but never occurred.  Rumor has it that it could be this Thursday, Oct. 4th but I've heard that one before. We'll truly know when the aircraft is wheels up out of Charleston and heading for India.

On the bright side, Boeing delivered ANA's 15th 787 which was ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) on Sunday and was flown to Japan last night.  Boeing is now up to 26 deliveries over all, 23 in 2012 and 7 in September.


Andrew Boydston said...

In 20-20 hindsight, Boeing should not rely upon the unreliable. Boeing should have ramped-up and featured an ANA bird it would be better than what Qatar is doing, (you know your entry level customer customer ANA, back in June had 4 aircraft delivered that month. Even if Boeing Paid ANA for the two week delay, It is stupid to rely upon those who consistently leverage their positions on the backs of Boeing like QATAR. Air India would have been a horrendous choice for feature at Farnborough. Qatar got to be the belle of the ball on Boeing's tab before Qatar's delivery, just because Boeing wanted to show off a plush interior and then go replace all the finger prints with a new interior. How stupid is Boeing for pulling this stunt with Qatar. When Boeing's feature customer, ANA,would now be flying a show aircraft long ago and making money doing it. Don't show off with the arrogant crowd. That arrogance will bite you back, 10 fold. If you have a few hundred million to blow, go ahead and show off. Right now all the good will established at Farnborough is lost through Qatar bad press it is generating towards Boeing and fouling up production schedules and delivery performance which gives higher rating than the long forgotten Farborough show off. Qatar has demonstrate the level of trust they have with Boeing too many times to risk hundreds of millions for Qatar's lack of intrinsic values of good faith.

greg said...

Well, U-turn Al asked Airbus to have their A380s' wing cracks totally fixed before delivery, too.

Kevin Flanagan said...

I'm sure Akbar Al-Baker has also delayed reading All Things 787 until all the coverage of him has been fixed ;)

Uresh said...

His loss!

Joseph Laimo said...

Hello - I am lurker on this blog, first time commenting, and have no professional airline or aircraft industry experience, just intrigued by the 787. If I ran an airline, and there were problems with a critical component, I think I might also demand the part be replaced before agreeing to take delivery. Is Al-Baker really being unreasonable here? Demanding yes, but not unreasonable in my unprofessional 2 cents! Am I alone in thinking this?

Rob said...

Demanding is OK, Al-Baker has a history of stepping in at the very last minute and making a big deal out of things that the other parties had already thought was negotiated.

He seems to do this to draw attention to himself and his airline. After watching him for a while I get the feeling he sends his minions to negotiate in bad faith, they get the best deal they can and then he comes in and demands more. These final demads happen in the public eye, this type of negotiation in this industry almost always happens very quietly.

Daetrin said...

It's called good cop, bad cop, and it works very well.

It's a common negotiating style to switch tactics at the very end as it throws people off balance psychologically, e.g. if you're very direct then right at the end go wishy-washy, and if you're very soft normally than right at the end play hard ball.

Ah...the secrets of a negotiator...

Dave C said...

Is this guy the Michael O Leary of Qatar ?