With reporting from Tory Scott
In a significant expansion of its fleet, Qatar’s national carrier said it plans to buy up to 100 planes from US manufacturer Boeing in the coming years.
The deal, valued at $18.6 billion, includes orders for 30 Dreamliners, 10 777s and for the first time, a letter of intent to buy 60 737 Max 8 jets.
Qatar Airways‘ plan to add these new short-haul aircraft comes as it faces lengthy delivery delays from Airbus for its new narrow-body A320neos.
The 737s would likely be used on the same types of routes as the A320s.
However, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said yesterday that he has no plans to cancel the carrier’s contract with Airbus for 50 of those aircraft, the Seattle Times reports.
The new order will more than double the number of Qatar Airways’ current Boeing aircraft. The airline now operates a combination of 84 787s and 777s.
It will also increase its orders of Boeing widebody airplanes from 65 to 105, the company said in a statement.
No timeline was given for the new order of planes.
However, in a statement about the deal, Al Baker said the aircraft order would “power our future growth for the years and the decades ahead.”
“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.”
The timing of the order coincides with reports that the US government will soon approve the sale of 36 Boeing F-15 fighter jets to Qatar.
That $4 billion agreement had been stalled by lawmakers for more than two years.
Both deals are great news for Boeing, which has been struggling financially this year and had even been mulling layoffs.