x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Qatar orders Airbus A330-200 and A330-200F planes at Dubai Airshow

Qatar Airways expanded its freighter fleet yesterday with five new Airbus A330-200. The airline included in the order a further eight A330-200F options, taking the deal to about US$2.8 billion for a total of 13 aircraft.

Qatar Airways expanded its freighter fleet yesterday with five new Airbus A330-200, as the Arabian Gulf carrier seeks to grow its cargo business.

“Cargo is a strategic part of our business,” said Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, at the Dubai Airshow.

“The first delivery of the freighters will be made to us next year. It will be two next year, and three soon after that,” he said.

Qatar Airways included in the order a further eight A330-200F options, taking the deal to about US$2.8 billion for a total of 13 aircraft.

Mr Al Baker also showed interest in expanding the size of the A350-1000 aircraft.

“I think the A350-1000 is a very potent aircraft. Actually we are very amazed at what it can do. If they extend the size, they stretch the aeroplane, Qatar Airways will be very interested to place additional orders for the 1000,” he said.

Mr Al Baker added that Qatar Airways was seriously contemplating converting some of its A350-900 orders to A350-1000.

Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said that swapping to the bigger A350-1000 meant two things – Qatar Airways preferred the bigger airplane to help to cope with growing demand, and it might not be happy with the current performance of the baseline A350-900.

Mr Ahmad added that by the same metric, it was easy to understand why Qatar Airways committed to 50 Boeing 777X jets. “They simply don’t want to be at the mercy of one jet maker.”

Qatar Airways announced earlier that it was ordering 50 Boeing 777X aircraft, the new generation of the American aerospace maker’s 777 series, worth $19bn.

“For Qatar Airways the Boeing 777 is a flagship aircraft. It has been the backbone of our fleet. We operate the 777 on many of the popular routes Qatar Airways flies,” said Mr Al Baker.

“The technological design of the 777X is innovative and impressive. To touch on one aspect, the wing design is extraordinary.”

Boeing announced at the Dubai Airshow the launch of the 777X, with 459 orders from Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, Eithad Airways and Lufthansa.

The Dubai Airshow, held for the first time this year at Dubai World Central, is estimated to receive 60,000 trade visitors and more than 1,000 exhibitors, underlining its rising profile. The show is challenging the supremacy of the other two big airshows of Farnborough, southern England, and Paris.

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