November 18, 2019 / 4:40 AM / 22 days ago

Kuwait's Jazeera unhappy with Airbus delays, no plans for aircraft order this week

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways (JAZK.KW) is unhappy with delivery delays of Airbus (AIR.PA) aircraft and has no plans to place an order at this week’s Dubai Airshow, its chief executive said.

General view in a new A320 production line at the Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Airbus and Boeing (BA.N) are vying for an order of up to 25 narrowbody jets from the Middle East budget carrier which now expects to place an order by the middle of next year.

“We have no plans to make an order announcement at the air show,” Rohit Ramachandran told Reuters at the Dubai Airshow.

The Airbus A320 operator says production issues have delayed the delivery of new aircraft this year, forcing it to push back some route launches this year.

“We are not happy with the delays that are occurring in the production line and I think Airbus is very aware of our position,” Ramachandran said.

“I don’t see a major improvement. I think they continue to have unplanned delays in production,” he said.

Airbus last month cut its full-year delivery goal for commercial jets, as the planemaker wrestles with production issues.

Jazeera, whose fleet will expand to 13 jets this year, has been considering placing an order for over a year. It has consistently pushed back potential deadlines on when it could sign a deal and its CEO said it was in no rush.

“We want to make our shareholders rich, not Boeing and Airbus shareholders rich,” said Ramachandran.

An order could be worth around $3 billion at list prices, depending on which aircraft are ordered, but it is common for airlines to receive discounts.

Any order could include longer range narrowbody jets like the Airbus A321XLR, Ramachandran said.

Airbus and Boeing said they are mostly sold out of the latest versions of their workhorse single-aisle jets until 2024 after selling thousands in recent years.

“If we really put money on the table, we are confident we will be able to get aircraft in a timely manner,” said Ramachandran, who wants to start receiving new aircraft in 2022.

Jazeera, one of the Middle East’s few listed airlines, expects to carry just under 3 million passengers this year.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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