National carrier Qatar Airways is expecting some 31 aircraft deliveries this year, Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker has said

“This includes both Boeing and Airbus” al-Baker said and noted that this, however, would depend on whether the “aircraft delivery programme is on schedule.”

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Hamad International Airport yesterday al-Baker said, “We are already facing a delay on the Airbus A320neos. We were supposed to get two of them last year.”

A Qatar Airways factsheet shows the airline has on order about 80 Airbus A320 Neos (including options).

He said the delivery this year would include the superjumbo – Airbus A380 as well.

“We will receive one Airbus A380 in December this year and one A380 in January of next year,” al-Baker said.

The airline data show it has more than 320 aircraft on order books worth more than $70bn.

Besides the A320 Neos, these include 100 Boeing 777Xs, 73 Airbus A350s, 35 Boeing 787s (including options), 13 Boeing 777s (including freighters and options), seven Airbus A380-800s (10 firm and 3 options), two Airbus A320 and 10 Airbus A330 Freighters.

Currently, undergoing rapid expansion, Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world.

The current fleet (passenger and cargo) comprises some 175 aircraft, airline data show. These include 31 Boeing 777-300ERs, nine Boeing 777-200LRs, 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, eight Boeing 777F Freighters, four Airbus A340-600s, 39 Airbus A320s, 15 Airbus A330-200s, 13 Airbus A330-300s, seven Airbus A330 Freighters, one Boeing 747 Freighter, two Airbus Long Range A319LRs, eight Airbus A321-200s, six Airbus A380 and seven Airbus A350.

Now in its 19th year of operations, Qatar Airways modern fleet connects more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents.

Asked whether the current global economic downturn would impact the airline’s growth targets, al-Baker told Gulf Times, “We are still growing at a double digit rate. We have another two and a half months to go before we close. (Our financial year ends in March). We will give you a very interesting figure.”

He did not elaborate on the Qatar Airways reported investment plans in other carriers.

“You will get to know when we decide,” he said.

Earlier, there were reports that Qatar Airways was looking at many airlines including India’s IndiGo and Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc.

The airline had earlier bought a 10% stake in British Airways’ parent IAG last year and reportedly expressed interest in increasing its IAG stake.

Al-Baker told Gulf Times that Qatar Airways “is still committed to the oneworld alliance.”

“Still, we are very much committed to oneworld until we find that it is a huge uphill way for us and it is only a one-way street. A partnership is a two-way street,” al-Baker said.

Asked how he would tackle attempts by some US carriers to limit Qatar Airways’ expansion plans in the United States, al-Baker said, “This is a partnership… and if there are people who do not want the partnership, then what is the whole exercise about?

When pointed out that at the forefront of the campaign to “to rein in” Qatar Airways was American, a oneworld partner, al-Baker replied, “But oneworld is not only American Airlines”.