Qatar Airways signs up to 100 Boeing 777XFs and 737 MAXs
A few days ago we reported on an order from Qatar Airways for the new Boeing 777XF (freighter), which would make it the launch customer. Now, to close January on a high note, Qatar has signed a purchase commitment for 50 777X freighter aircraft. As a bonus, this deal adds an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX.
As was known, Qatar Airways was looking to renew its fleet of 34 freighters with the new larger version of the 777X. The possibility that Qatar Airways would go for the new Boeing 777XF was hinted at on January 26. The major purchase could reach $14 billion at list prices. The speculation came after the Emir of Qatar visited Washington last week; added to this was the context of the dispute between Qatar Airways and Airbus over the A350, which leaves out the European manufacturer’s cargo version.
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On January 31, the order that will make Qatar Airways the launch customer for the Boeing 777XF was finalized. The Qatar airline ordered 50 aircraft of the cargo version of the brand new 777X. At around 12:30LT, representatives of the Qatar government, Boeing, Qatar Airways and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce signed the agreement for 34 firm 777XFs with an option for 16 more.
In addition to the freighter aircraft, Qatar Airways surprised with an order for up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX; 25 of these are a firm order with an option for 25 more. The deal for the narrow-body aircraft comes on the heels of the cancellation of the 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft that the European manufacturer cut from Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways’ decision must undoubtedly prioritize safety and efficiency for the airline; however, it also appears to be influenced by the dispute it has with Airbus. With the history between Qatar and Airbus, it was clear that Qatar Airways Chairman Akbar Al Baker was not going to give the go-ahead to purchase the new A350Fs. Therefore, it is understandable that they are betting on their direct rival, the 777XF, even though it still has some delays even in its certification.