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Qatar Airways chief says would consider A380neo to replace A380s

CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker visits the Dubai Airshow November 8, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways' chief executive said on Sunday the airline would consider replacing some of its Airbus A380s with the upgraded A380neo if the newer plane performed better.

"If Airbus produces a (plane) which is head and shoulders above what they produce today we would look at them for replacements," Akbar Al Baker said when asked about interest in the A380neo.

The new aircraft would have to perform better on range, capacity and fuel burn for it to be interesting, he said.

Rival carrier Emirates, the largest A380 customer, has been pushing Airbus to upgrade its superjumbo jet for increased efficiency.

Al Baker also said Qatar Airways was not allowed to take part in Indian carrier IndiGo's initial public offering but it may still purchase shares.

"If the price is correct. I will not overpay," he said.

IndiGo raised $464 million from a public offering in late October.


Al Baker said no extra aircraft order was planned to fly people in and out of the country during the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, when 1 million soccer fans are forecast to visit.

“We already have plans in place and we are already meeting those (World Cup) plan requirements since two years ago,” Al Baker said, adding the carrier has “more than enough” planes from recent aircraft order.

He also ruled out short-term leases for the event. “We don’t need to lease because we need to give other airlines the opportunity to feed,” he said.

In Qatar, the airline is looking to expand its operational base from the new Hamad International Airport, where it shifted its base last year. Designs are being developed and the first of the construction tenders will begin soon, Al Baker said.

(Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by William Maclean)