Qatar Airways will start taking delivery of Airbus A321neos in 2020 but is yet to finalise the engine selection.
The airline's order for 50 A321neos resulted from its decision to abandon its launch order for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered A320neo in the wake of the re-engined twinjet's early engine problems and production delays. Having proceeded with an order for the larger A321neo, Qatar Airways is still negotiating with both P&W and CFM International over the powerplant selection.
"We have signed a new purchase agreement with Airbus which will give us a mix of A321neos and A321LRs," says Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
He tells FlightGlobal that while the original contract with P&W for the PW1100G – dating from the A320neo order – "is still valid... we are talking to both [engine suppliers]". He adds: "CFM is very keen to do business with Qatar Airways, and we have not made a final decision."
Al Baker acknowledges that P&W is still suffering issues with its geared turbofan engine but says: "We are very keen to work with Pratt. By 2020, when we receive our first aircraft, I'm very confident that Pratt will have resolved all the engine issues. For both Airbus and Pratt it is a very important issue that they need to resolve."
The A321LR will give Qatar Airways flexibility to operate on "thin intercontinental routes where we feel we need to reduce capacity during certain months of the year", says Al Baker.