The deal comes as the dispute between the Qatari flag carrier and Airbus continues to widen.
American plane manufacturer Boeing, is selling Qatar Airways up to 50 airplanes of its 777x jets, becoming the launch customer of the new planes, the airline company announced on Monday.
In a press release, the national carrier has stated that it will be the 777-8 Freighter launch customer with a firm order for 34 jets and options for 16 more.
The total purchase will be worth more than $20 billion at current list prices, rendering the deal with Qatar Airways the largest freighter commitment in Boeing history, by value.
The first delivery of the new freighter is expected in 2027.
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) January 31, 2022
“Today marks a great day in the ever-building and strong relationship between Qatar Airways and Boeing. We certainly push Boeing hard to deliver upon our expectations, and the team at Boeing consistently strives to meet and exceed our expectations,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
The two companies also inked a Memorandum of Understanding for a separate order of 25 737-10 aircrafts and purchase rights for 25 additional airplanes, containing seats for up to 230 passengers in a single-class.
“Our team is ready to create an airplane that will serve them well for many decades. Qatar Airways’ selection of the efficient 777–8 Freighter is a testament to our commitment to provide freighters with market–leading capacity, reliability and efficiency,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal.
The signing took place in Washington an hour ahead of a meeting between Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s and US President Joe Biden, along with other officials.
Reports on 26 January stated that the US plane manufacturer held advanced talks with the Qatari flag carrier to upgrade its existing fleet of 34 freighters with the next-generation of aircrafts.
Qatar Airways became the launch customer for the Boeing 777-9 aircraft, the world’s largest twin-engine jet, on 17 November last year.
Recent talks between Qatar Airways and Boeing came as the airline company’s dispute with plane manufacturer, Airbus, continued to escalate.
Qatar Airways and Airbus have been locked in a dispute since last year over the corrosion of a sub-layer of lightning protection on airplanes, with the latter maintaining that the flaw does not pose a risk to A350’s safety.
Airbus described the flaw as a “surface paint” issue whilst the Qatari airline expressed concerns over problems beneath the paint, affecting the Expanded Copper Foil (ECF), which was used as a lightning-conductor, and the composite shell.
In turn, the flag carrier’s domestic regulator, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA), grounded 21 A350 aircrafts. The decision left Qatar Airways with an aircraft shortage as the total grounded jets represent 40% of its current fleet of A350s.
In December last year, the airline company launched legal proceedings against the plane manufacturer at the High Court in London.
The feud further escalated when Airbus terminated a contract with Qatar Airways for 50 smaller A321neo jets earlier this month.
The contract revoked by Airbus is separate from the initial dispute over A350’s. In 2011, Qatar Airways had placed an order for A320neos in a $6.35 billion deal.
Qatar Airways was planning to fight Airbus’s decision whilst continuing to receive the jets despite its dispute with the plane manufacturer over the A350s. Its first A321neo, which has since been terminated, was expected to be delivered in February 2023.
Bloomberg noted that Airbus is set to serve its defence to Judge David Waksman by 25 February.
The Qatari airline was one of Airbus’ biggest customers, and the launch customer of the A350 model.
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