Qatar Airways Group has agreed with Airbus to defer the delivery of aircraft amid the ongoing air travel slump, but negotiations continue on the same issue with Boeing, chief executive Akbar Al Baker revealed during an online conference on September 2, Reuters reported.

Without providing further details about the agreement, he expressed appreciation for the European manufacturer's flexibility despite “contractual difficulties” and offered: “We have the ability to bring forward the deliveries if there is a rebound in air travel.”

Al Baker did not have such kind words for Boeing, however, saying that no deal on delivery deferrals had yet been reached with the American manufacturer.

“As far as Boeing is concerned we are still in negotiations with them, but regardless of what they feel, an aircraft manufacturer needs to oblige customers in difficult times,” he said. “People who will not oblige and stand with us in this difficult time will not see us again.”

He then qualified this by adding: “We are all in the same boat, and so we have to help each other.”

With Airbus, Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) currently has twenty-seven A350-1000s and fifty A321-200neo on order, while with Boeing it has ten B777-8s, fifty B777-9, five B777-F, and twenty-three B787-9s outstanding, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.

It had also ordered sixty B737-8 MAX aircraft via lessors for its 49%-owned carrier Air Italy (IG, Milan Malpensa) before its demise in February, and talks with Boeing also continue about how to tackle these deliveries, Al Baker said.

As previously reported, in early June, the chief executive warned Airbus and Boeing to agree to delivery deferrals or risk losing future business with the carrier, teling Reuters that it would not take any more new aircraft until 2022 and that the current crisis will inevitably have a knock-on effect on future deliveries.

“We are negotiating with both Boeing and Airbus to fulfil our requirement to defer and we hope that both manufacturers will oblige. They have no other alternative to oblige,” he said at the time.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways pursues its resumption of flights, announcing on August 30 a 3x-weekly route to Mogadishu from September 6, as a tagged operation to its existing flights to Djibouti. It is the ninth destination to resume in Africa.

During September its aircraft also return to Houston Intc'l (3x weekly from September 2, rising to 4x from September 15), Kathmandu (1x weekly), Philadelphia Int'l (3x weekly), and Sialkot (3x weekly). In a statement on September 2, the carrier said it had put back in the network “just over half the destinations it operated pre-covid-19” so that by September 16 it “will operate over 650 weekly flights to more than 85 destinations, [...] more than any other airline.”