July 14, 2014 / 3:30 PM / 5 years ago

Airbus, under fire from Qatar Airways, says A380s due by year end

FARNBOROUGH England (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA) said the snags holding up delivery of the new A380 superjumbos ordered by Qatar Airways would be resolved by the end of the year, after the chief executive of the Middle Eastern airline criticized the European planemaker.

Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, also said on Monday that the airline was not yet ready to finalize an order for 50 Boeing (BA.N) 777X aircraft - the U.S planemaker’s new version of its 777 long-haul jet.

Airbus said it was working to fix difficulties with the A380 planes after Qatar Airways, which should have taken delivery of its first A380 in May, rejected the first three aircraft.

“I’m very disappointed with Airbus that they did not bring my A380 to show at this very important airshow,” Al Baker said in an interview with Reuters Insider TV.

The superjumbo had been slated to appear at the Farnborough Airshow in southern England.

Airbus said the issues would not have any impact on its 2014 target of delivering 30 of the aircraft.

“I don’t see it being an issue for year end,” Tom Williams, Executive Vice President of Programmes at Airbus, told reporters.

Detailing the reasons for the Qatar Airways’ rejection of the jets, he said the issues related to the cabin and included paint in some areas having a bubbled texture, joint lines on wallpaper and some gaps in non-textile floor coverings.

Boeing in November launched the long-awaited 777X, but it should not expect a final order from Qatar Airways this week, said Al Baker, who said only that the airline would decide “soon”.

“We are not finalizing any orders, we have already an LOI (letter of intent) and that’s where we’re going to leave it for the time being,” he said, when asked about whether the airline would place the order at Farnborough.

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Potter

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