Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker was in Wales yesterday to open a new route to Cardiff and seems to have broken news about British Airways possible wet leasing planes from its shareholder that has some excess capacity at the moment due to blockage.
British Airways operates Boeing 787 planes with Rolls-Royce engines that need some emergency maintenance. Qatar Airways provided short-haul planes with crews to BA during the mixed fleet strikes in 2017.
Bloomberg News broke the story yesterday and you can find an excerpt of their piece below (access the entire article here):
Qatar Airways is considering loaning planes including wide-body models to British Airways in a move that would soak up excess capacity at the Gulf carrier while easing fleet pressures at the U.K. operator as some of its own Boeing Co. 787 jets get emergency overhauls.
While Qatar Air previously loaned Airbus SE A320 jets to British Airways after a Saudi-led blockade forced it to close some Gulf routes, the transfer currently under scrutiny would be the first involving long-haul planes.
“If we have to help them due to their current predicament we will do our best, even if it means reducing some frequencies from our current network,” Al Baker said in Cardiff Wednesday after Qatar Airways began flights to the Welsh city. The company doesn’t have spare aircraft as such but there are destinations where the timetable may be “excessive,” he added.
Qatar Airways owns roughly 21% of IAG the parent of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level. It is thus in their best interest that British Airways continues to operate smoothly while required repairs to those Rolls-Royce engines are done.
British Airways needs to demonstrate, however, to the regulator before bringing QR planes and crews in to operate the flights that they were not able to find required capacity from the European airlines that could be difficult. There are many charter shops providing short term leases to airlines that BA has used in the past.