The long association between Qatar Airways and Bombardier Inc’s CSeries jet ended on Wednesday after the Gulf carrier said it got tired of waiting.
Seven years after Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker first said he planned to order 20 of the planes, the executive said he’d gotten fed up with the many delays in Bombardier’s development of its biggest jet. Instead, Qatar will stick with a revamped Airbus Group model that’s due to come out before the end of the year.
“We’ve completely forgotten about the CSeries,” al-Baker said on Wednesday in an interview in Berlin. “You cannot wait for the CSeries indefinitely. Now there is the Airbus Neo, the A319neo, which does exactly what the CSeries does.”
Bombardier plans to begin deliveries of the CSeries by the end of this year, two years later than planned. The jet has missed the last two major international aviation exhibits because of the delays and a grounding in May following an engine fire in a test plane.
Montreal-based Bombardier has struggled to attract orders for the two jet models, and lost its original launch customer, Sweden’s Braathens Aviation AB, which backed out last year.
So far Bombardier has 243 firm orders for the two models of the plane, shy of a target of 300 by launch date. The larger CS300 version, which can seat as many as 160 passengers and has garnered almost three times as many orders as the smaller model, completed its first test flight last week. The CS100, which can seat as many as 125 people, began test flights in September 2013 and is scheduled to enter commercial service in the second half of this year.
Marianella de la Barrera, a spokeswoman for Bombardier, didn’t immediately respond to a voice mail message seeking comment on the Qatar Airways decision.