Qatar Airways has announced an order for two Boeing 777 Freighters at the 2011 Dubai Air Show.
Valued at $560 million at current list prices, the airplanes will increase the airline’s 777 Freighter fleet to eight when delivered.
“As we accelerate efforts to boost our global cargo network, we are expanding our fleet with airplanes like the Boeing 777 Freighter that allow us to deliver cargo further and more efficiently than ever before,” said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways.
“The 777 Freighter has already proven itself with its impressive operating economics and is a critical component of our cargo fleet, enabling the launch of three new dedicated freighter services to Atlanta, Houston and Toronto, from our hubs in Doha and Luxembourg.”
Qatar Airways currently operates 28 Boeing 777s of various types, including 16 777-300ERs (extended range), three 777 Freighters and nine 777-200LRs. It recently took delivery of its 100th airplane which was a Boeing 777-200LR (longer range).
By 2013, the airline plans to serve more than 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of over 120 aircraft.
The airline currently has a fleet of 100 aircraft flying to over 100 destinations.
“Qatar Airways’ decision to invest in expanding its 777 Freighter fleet is an important endorsement for the aircraft from one of the world’s fastest growing airlines,” said Marty Bentrott, vice president, sales – Middle East, Russia, Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“Qatar Airways’ expansion strategy is clearly built on the principle of delivering cargo efficiently from one point to another and its choice of the 777 Freighter, with its unparalleled capabilities, reflects that.”
Qatar Airways is recognised as offering the Middle East’s Leading Airline Business Class by the prestigious World Travel Awards.
At the same time, Qatar Airways has surprised many in the industry by revealing a proposed deal with Airbus has stalled.
Al Baker had been expected to make an announcement in Dubai confirming an order of new narrow-body A320neo and double-decker A380 aircraft from the European aviation giant.
However, he instead told reporters the deal had hit an “impasse” and even suggested “Airbus is still learning how to make airplanes”.
A deal is now unlikely in Dubai but analysts expect it to be completed by the end of the year.
Doha-based Qatar Airways’ fleet of 101 aircraft is dominated by Airbus planes.