Yemenia to rethink A350 order

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David Kaminski-Morrow / Paris

Middle East operator Yemenia is to reconsider its order for Airbus A350 aircraft, after stating that a two-year delay to redesign the aircraft would be a serious setback for its modernization programme.
Yemenia had agreed to take six A350-800s with options on another four, with deliveries to begin in 2012.
But speaking at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Paris, Yemenia chairman Capt Abdulkalek Saleh Al-Kadi said that, following a briefing from Airbus, the airline’s board is set to discuss the implications for the carrier.
He says that the delay is a “very serious” issue and is yet to be convinced that, even with Airbus support, Yemenia can find a way to bridge the two-year gap.
“It means that for 2012 to 2014 we have no plan,” says Al-Kadi.
He says that Yemenia will have to make a decision “very soon” on whether to remain committed to the A350 order and says that it is “conceivable” that it could switch to an alternative type if the board decides that the delay is unacceptable.
While Al-Kadi does not specifically state that Yemenia could look again at the rival Boeing 787, the Sana’a-based carrier had been studying the type before opting for the A350.