Qatar Airways signs LOI for 50 Boeing B777X
Overshadowed but not quite outdone will aviation observers think of Qatar Airways’ signing of a Letter of Intent with Boeing, which confirms their interest to purchase 50 of Boeings’ latest birds, the B777X, which until a few days ago appeared to have been the subject of some argument, if not spats between the two companies.
Qatar Airways appears to have settled for the B777-9X variant to expand their fleet yet further as it continues to widen their global network supported by their new Doha mega airport which is due to come finally on line in early 2014 after some costly delays.
Addressing media at a press conference at Al Maktoum International Airport, in the aviation world known as Dubai World Central or in short DWC, the recently opened and new venue of the Dubai Air Show, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “Today, I represent Qatar Airways and its Board Members in signing a ‘Letter Of Intent’ for the purchase of 50 Boeing 777 - 9X aircraft, valued at US$ 19 billion at list prices. For Qatar Airways, the Boeing 777 is our flagship aircraft. It has been the backbone of the fleet. Operational on many of the routes Qatar Airways flies to it is well admired by our crew and passengers alike; it is simply a fantastic airplane.
Since Qatar Airways started taking deliveries of Boeing 777s in November 2007, our fleet has been significantly enhanced, enabling the airline to reach a route map covering the entire Middle East and most of Africa; the Indian sub-continent, Europe, Asia Pacific, North and South America. The Boeing 777 fits into the airline’s strategic growth plan and that is, to offer an extensive route map with optimal connectivity and ultimately – to be the airline of choice for customers, whether it is for long-haul, short-haul, business and/or leisure travel.”
Of the current 777 fleet, Qatar Airways operates a mix of passenger and cargo aircraft – 23 Boeing 777-300ERs, nine 777-200LRs (Long Range) and five Boeing 777 freighters, although Qatar Airways has also just signed a purchase agreement for 5 brand new Airbus A330-200 freighters.
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said after signing the documents for his company: “Boeing is very proud to have Qatar Airways amongst the launch customers for the new 777X program. Qatar Airways has enjoyed remarkable worldwide growth in recent years and we very much look forward to continuing to support the airline on its path to further success in the future.”
This year marks the 13th edition of the Dubai Airshow, which runs from 17 – 21 November and is taking place at the newly-opened Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport located in Jebel Ali, Dubai.
Up to 150 aircraft will be on static display, featuring over 1,000 exhibitors. The 2011 edition of the show attracted over 55,000 visitors from around the world, with this year’s numbers expected to far surpass that.
One of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 130 aircraft to 133 business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
Qatar Airways has launched eleven new destinations this year – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq), Basra (Iraq), Chengdu (China), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Ta’if (Saudi Arabia) Clark International airport (Philippines) – and Hangzhou (China) will begin on 20 December.
On October 30, 2013, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld Alliance, becoming the only major Gulf carrier to join a global airline alliance, enabling its customers to benefit from almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.
Award-winning carrier Qatar Airways was presented with three honors at the annual Skytrax 2013 World Airline Awards held during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, France last June. The airline was awarded World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Lounge and, for the second consecutive year, Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East.
In Eastern Africa Qatar Airways flies to Nairobi, Entebbe, Kigali, Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, connecting travelers from the entire region into their network via their hub in Doha.