Qatar criticise P&W engine testing

By Reuters 10 March 2016
Qatar criticise P&W engine testing CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al-Baker. (AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar Airways stepped up its criticism of U.S. engine maker Pratt & Whitney over delays and technical problems on Wednesday, saying that engines for its Airbus A320neo aircraft had not been adequately tested.

Qatar Airways has refused to take the jets because of engine glitches. Last month it threatened to switch to alternative engine supplier CFM International.

"I don't think this engine was tested adequately, especially for the temperatures in which Qatar Airways will operate," Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said.

"We will only accept it when we are fully satisfied that it can operate efficiently and safely at Qatar operations (and) ... once we get sufficient performance guarantees and undertakings from both Airbus and Pratt & Whitney," he told a news conference at the ITB tourism exhibition in Berlin.

"We are at the threshold of the walk-away clause in our contract, but I hope we will not have to exercise this."

Pratt & Whitney had no immediate comment but has said it is on track to eliminate problems with slow engine start-up times and erroneous software messages by June.

Meanwhile, industry sources say that more than a dozen part-built A320neo jets are on the ground at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse waiting for their engines before they can be delivered.

While keeping up the pressure in public, people familiar with the matter say that Qatar Airways is expected to give the planemaker and its engine supplier more time to fix the problems.

"We’re confident that with Pratt & Whitney’s support we will address any early (lessons) and meet our targets," Airbus said.

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