Qatar Airways announced an order for two Boeing 747-8 freighters and four 777-300ERs, valued at $2.16bn at list prices, which shows airline’s expansion and also the contribution to the US economy. The announcement came after the airline received the first 747-8 freighter in Washington.
Qatar Airways was the first airline in the Middle East to operate 787 and it is also a launch customer for the 777X, and has 20 737 MAX airplanes on order. In 2016 Qatar’s national carrier placed a record $11.7bn order from Boeing for 30 B787-9 Dreamliners and 10 777-300ERs.
The 747-8 freighter allows cargo operators to operate at the lowest costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is optimised to provide greater revenue cargo-carrying capability than the 747-400, offering 16% more cargo volume while keeping its unique nose door.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said: “Qatar Airways operates one of the youngest and fastest growing fleets in the sky, and Boeing unceasingly proves to be a valuable partner to us in providing the quality aircraft that make us the world’s third largest international cargo carrier. We are very appreciative of our enduring partnership with Boeing, as it is key to our future growth, and we look forward to continuing to work with this important US partner.”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive officer Kevin McAllister said: “We are proud of our strong, enduring and growing partnership with Qatar Airways and we truly appreciate the value its business has brought to Boeing, its employees, suppliers and our communities. As one of the world’s largest international cargo carriers, it is heartening that Qatar Airways has selected the 747-8 Freighter to meet its growing cargo operations and to see the important role the 777-300ER continues to play in its long-haul fleet.”
Qatar Airways is to accept the four Airbus A350 aircraft that it had previously cancelled in July.
Speaking at an event in which he formally accepted delivery of Qatar Airways’ first Boeing 747-8 freighter, Al Baker said the plan to take the four Airbus planes “is definite.” He added he will be “concluding an agreement shortly, for which I will be flying to Toulouse from here,” referring to the Airbus site.
“A deal has been reached allowing the four planes, still in Qatar Airways colours and parked in Toulouse, France, to be delivered in the near future,” one of the sources said.
Accepting the previously cancelled orders will spare millions of dollars in charges to convert the cabins for another airline and means the order for 4 jets could be re-posted to Airbus’s list of sales for the A350, of which Qatar is the largest customer.