Qatar to sell Cargolux stake; changes A350 order

Monday, 19 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Qatar Airways is to sell its stake in Luxembourg’s all-cargo airline, Cargolux, due to strategy differences, Reuters has reported, citing a Cargolux spokeswoman.

“The Luxembourg and Qatari shareholders disagreed on the future strategic orientation of the airline, which led to Qatar’s decision to pull out of Cargolux,” the spokeswoman reportedly said.

The Gulf carrier bought a 35% stake in the cargo airline from the Luxembourg government and other parties in September 2011.

In more news, Qatar Airways swapped its order for 20 of Airbus A350-800s for larger variants, Bloomberg has reported. There is some speculation that Qatar is replacing the order with larger Airbus A350-900s.

“This is in line with market trend, upsizing to larger models,” Marcella Muratore, a spokeswoman for Airbus, reportedly said.

The A350-800 will seat 270, while the A350-900 can accommodate 314 passengers and the -1000 model can handle 350. The A350-900 is the most popular, and is set to enter service by late 2014, three years before the largest model.

Qatar recently took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. But it seems cost-cutting measures are going to affect its pilot training.

According to an internal Boeing announcement, the manufacturer will provide flight crew training for the new aircraft from temporary, contract pilots, instead of the full-time Boeing pilots.

“This means these ‘instructor pilots’ are ‘training’ Qatar and LAN pilots who have orders of magnitude more actual flight time and experience in the 787 than they do,” said Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).

“Full-time Boeing instructor pilots are available to support Qatar and LAN, but Boeing is choosing to risk its reputation and stick these customers with minimally qualified contract pilots in order to save a few nickels.”