August 2012

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Did Qatar Airways clear an unspoken hurdle for ordering CSeries?

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Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER A7-BAE

Consider this article tagged under "speculative", but news from Qatar Airways that the carrier plans to start service to Montreal in June raised an eyebrow. 

June will also feature the biennial Paris Air Show, where airline CEO Akbar Al Baker says of a possible order for the Bombardier CSeries: "I will leave that question to be answered in Le Bourget," reports Aviation Week.

These seemingly unrelated Qatar Airways stories may be more connected than first meets the eye. Gulf carrier access to Canadian airports has long been a contentious topic to say the least, so emergence of a new 777 route linking Montreal to Doha is highly notable. 

While it was never a publicly discussed condition for ordering the CSeries, Qatar Airways foray into to this difficult to access market may be a key step toward a final agreement on the new Bombardier 110-149 seater. A Qatar CSeries deal has been a long-protracted on again, off again process.

In other CSeries news, Arabian Aerospace Magazine reports that Qatar Airways may not be the first Gulf airline to order the new Canadian jet. The story says that Yemen-based all-Bombardier operator Felix Airways could beat Qatar as the Middle East's first CSeries customer.

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