Qatar Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase up to six Airbus A321 aircraft - four firm and two on option.The agreement was signed at Farnborough International Air Show between Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker and Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders.
The four firm aircraft are scheduled for delivery in the near term. Qatar Airways will use the A321s to complement its existing narrow body fleet on regional routes. These additional aircraft will bring Qatar Airways’ A321 fleet to 14 aircraft. With the addition of these 6 A321 aircraft, Qatar Airways’ narrow body fleet will increase to 27 aircraft, consisting of 14 A321s, 11 A320s and 2 A319 Long Range aircraft.
“Concluding this deal with Airbus for the additional A321 aircraft will further assist Qatar Airways in the rapid development of its regional network,” said Al Baker.
“Qatar Airways’ young and fuel efficient fleet of Airbus A320 family of aircraft continues to support the airline’s dramatic growth at a time when the airline industry as a whole is struggling with the impact of prevailing high fuel prices.
“Qatar Airways is clearly bucking the industry trend by placing aircraft orders and being confident of a bright future for the Middle East and global aviation industry.”
Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders added: “Airbus is very pleased to see Qatar Airways’ commitment to the A320 family and, in particular, its rapidly growing A321 fleet which is very suited to Gulf and Middle East area operations.
“Qatar Airways’ attention to passenger service is legendary, so we are delighted to have it as a major customer of the A321. We take great pride of our partnership with Qatar Airways which dates back to its inception in 1992. As Qatar Airways has evolved into a world class airline, our partnership has grown and prospered, and is now set to continue into the future with our latest aircraft.”
Qatar Airways is currently the largest operator of the A320 family in the Gulf and Middle East region. The Doha-based airline’s current in-service fleet consists of a total of 19 A320 family variants, 1 A300-600R, 3 A300-600 freighters, 31 A330s, 4 A340-600s, together with 2 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The airline has commitments for 6 A321s (plus 2 options), 25 B777 (plus 5 options), 30 B787 (plus 30 options), 80 A350 XWB and 5 A380 aircraft resulting in a consistently young fleet. Qatar Airways is also the launch customer and largest customer of the A350 XWB, with deliveries to the airline set to commence in 2013.
The airline has outstanding orders for more than 200 aircraft worth over US$30 billion. It operates a modern fleet of 62 aircraft to 83 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, Far East and North America.
Qatar Airways launched non-stop flights from its Doha hub to the southern Indian coastal city of Kozhikode in June, its ninth Indian route. Earlier in the year, the airline began services to Guangzhou in southern China - its fourth Chinese route - and looks forward to starting scheduled services on November 10 between Doha and Houston which, at 17 hours, will be one of the longest non-stop flights in the world.