AIRSHOW-Qatar Airways expects to receive first A350s early

SINGAPORE Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:36am EST

SINGAPORE Feb 12 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways, the launch customer for the Airbus A350, expects to receive its first aircraft ahead of scheduled delivery in December 2014, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.

"They (Airbus) are well ahead of the test schedule," said Akbar Al Baker at the Singapore Airshow, adding that the aircraft could arrive a month or two earlier.

The fast-growing Doha-based full-service carrier has 43 A350-900s and 37 A350-1000s on its order books.

Al Baker added that patience was running thin with Bombardier's troubled CSeries aircraft programme. While Qatar has a requirement in the 120-160 seat category, the programme's delays and lack of orders could lead to the airline looking elsewhere.

"We have told them that we will only be interested in talking to them again once they have sold 300 aircraft," said Al Baker. "People like us are not going to indefinitely wait for the aircraft programme to mature."

He also said that the airline was not interested in Airbus's offer of a higher take-off weight "regional" A330, or Boeing's 787-10 or 777-8X.

The airline also has 50 Boeing 777-9 on order, but it is not keen on the smaller 777-8, said Al Baker.

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