Fast-growing Qatar Airways has placed an order for 30 B787-9 Dreamliners and 10 B777-300ERs, valued at USD 11.7 billion at list prices.
The airline has also signed a letter of intent to buy up to 60 737 MAX 8s (USD 6.9 billion at list prices).
The announcement on Friday builds on Qatar Airways’ current fleet of 84 Boeing aircraft, a combination of 787s and 777s, all delivered over the last nine years. With this new order, Qatar Airways increases its firm order backlog of Boeing widebody airplanes from 65 to 105, including 60 777Xs.
The B787-9 Dreamliner is the longer Dreamliner variant. Air New Zealand, the first airline to fly one, reports that the new plane fully meets expectations.
“Qatar Airways, already one of the fastest growing airlines in the history of aviation, today announces a significant and historic aircraft order that will power our future growth for the years and the decades ahead,” Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, stated.
“Boeing has proven to be a valuable partner, and today’s announcement is testament to our appreciation of the quality of their product and their dedication to providing world class customer service.”
Qatar Airways was the first airline to operate the B787 in the Middle East and is a launch customer for the 777X. With the commitment for the 737 MAX 8, it would be the first Boeing single-aisle airplane model to join Qatar Airways’ fleet in more than 15 years.
Middle Eastern carriers such as Qatar are not viewed favourably by the biggest US carriers, which have accused them of enjoying unfair subsidies, a charge they strongly deny.
The latest deal won firm support from the US Government.
“Congratulations to The Boeing Company and Qatar Airways on the remarkable milestone they’ve reached, which will significantly grow the number of Boeing aircraft in the Qatar Airways fleet,” said US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
“Beyond its importance for these two companies, this agreement demonstrates the importance of global commercial partnerships in strengthening our bilateral ties. This deal will strengthen economic opportunity and job creation, and highlights the importance of strong global trading relationships.”
In a joint statement by Qatar and Boeing, the plane-maker described the purchase as “validating the value, reliability and performance of Boeing’s twin-aisle airplanes”.
Boeing described the 777-300ER as “the most reliable twin-aisle airplane flying today”, with “the highest schedule reliability of any twin-aisle airplane at 99.5%”.
Edited by Peter Needham