Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) will not take the remaining twenty-five B737-8s it has on order from lessors as the aircraft were due to be operated by now-defunct subsidiary Air Italy (Milan Malpensa), Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told Sky News.

"We have already informed Boeing that we will have to replace them with some other type of airplane because we had bought it for a particular airline in which we had invested, and we have withdrawn our investment from that airline, so we will not require anymore the B737 MAX," Al Baker said, without explicitly naming the Italian carrier.

Air Italy took deliveries of five B737 MAX 8s before the type's grounding in March 2019, although two of these units were never flown to Italy. Qatar Airways initially announced a Letter of Intent for up to sixty B737 MAX in 2016 but only firmed half of the order. According to the Boeing orders and deliveries report, Qatar Airways has taken delivery of five B737 MAX 8s, although the identity of the remaining two aircraft is unknown. However, several MAX 8s originally destined for Air Italy remain parked in the United States without ever having been flown to Italy.

Al Baker underlined that besides the cancellation of its B737 MAX plans, Qatar Airways would also put the brakes on other fleet growth and renewal projects.

"Quite a lot of deliveries will be deferred. We have already notified both Boeing and Airbus that we will not be taking any airplanes this year or next year. And all the other aircraft that we have on order that were supposed to be delivered to us within the next two or three years, will now be pushed back to as long as nearly eight to ten years," he said.

He added that should demand recover sooner than expected, Qatar Airways has the right to reverse some of the deferrals. However, he also demanded flexibility from the manufacturers, threatening them explicitly during the interview.

"[Airbus and Boeing] should know that if they don't oblige to our requirements, we will have to review our long term business relationships with both of them," Al Baker said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Qatar Airways has forty A321-200N, ten A321-200NX(LR)s, twenty-seven A350-1000s, five B777-200Fs, ten B777-8s, fifty B777-9s, and twenty-three B787-9s on firm order from the two manufacturers.

Al Baker also underlined that despite its failed Air Italy project, Qatar Airways Group is committed to its strategic, long-term investments in IAG International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, and Cathay Pacific. The Qatari group holds a 25% stake in IAG, a 10% stake in LATAM, and a 9.6% stake in Cathay Pacific. Al Baker underlined that he was prepared to approve further capital injections into each of the companies in which Qatar Airways is a strategic shareholder.

Editorial Comment: Added details regarding Air Italy's B737-8. - 22.06.2020 - 09:35 UTC