Airbus is hoping to finalise shortly a rejig of Qatar Airways’ problematic A320neo order, which will include scaling-up to the A321neo.
Qatar Airways had been a launch customer for the A320neo but the deal became mired after technical snags with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G powerplant.
The Middle Eastern carrier refused to take delivery of the aircraft, some of which remain parked in Qatar Airways colours at Airbus’s Toulouse headquarters.
Qatar Airways originally placed an order for 50 of the re-engined jets, including 30 A320neos plus 14 A321neos and six A319neos.
It subsequently converted the A319neo order to larger aircraft and had settled on 34 A320neos and 16 A321neos.
But as the engine problems emerged, Qatar started cancelling individual A320neos and, by the end of last year, had reduced its backlog from 34 to 30.
It retains 16 A321neos and Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, speaking during a briefing in Toulouse, said the two sides were “discussing upsizing” the A320neo order to more A321neos.
He declines to detail whether the negotiations centre on converting the entire remaining A320neo order, and whether Qatar would switch the engine selection to the rival CFM International Leap-1A.
But Leahy says that he “hopes to conclude [the order revision] in the not-to-distant future”.