Qatar's Al-Baker believes A320 re-engining announcement imminent

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Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker expects Airbus to shortly "make an important announcement" on the re-engining of the A320, and believes that supplier International Aero Engines will offer the PW1000 geared turbofan produced by partner Pratt & Whitney.

"I believe that Airbus is going to make an important announcement this month," says Al-Baker. "And I think they will come up with a programme similar to the [Bombardier] C-Series and install the GTF engine."

Airbus has said that it plans to make a decision on the re-engining by the Farnborough Airshow in July. If it goes ahead, it will offer the upgrade as an option across the A319, A320 and A321 models with new engine offerings from the two incumbent suppliers CFM International and IAE.

Qatar will also decide on whether it will order the C-Series, which already comes with the PW1000, by Farnborough, says Al-Baker. The carrier re-opened talks with Bombardier late last year on the aircraft, after earlier negotiations fell through, and is reportedly interested in the 130-seat variant.

"There are a few issues to overcome and then we will make up our mind before Farnborough. These are commercial issues, discussions on certain commercial terms. If we are going that way, yes, it will be by that time," says Al-Baker. "The onus is on Bombardier."