Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Qatar Airways, will they or won't they order the 777X

Qatar Airways’ CEO said Tuesday he is not interested in the newest version of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the -10, but was coy on the question of whether he might acquire the soon-to-be launched Boeing 777X.
Speaking to media in Doha during ceremonies for Qatar’s joining of the oneworld global alliance, CEO Akbar Al Baker said about the possibility of ordering the 777X, “the answer is X. We have to wait for when the time is right.”

 Al Baker has previously acknowledged he has been in talks about the 777X and there is speculation that the program—a next-generation 777—could be launched at the Dubai Air Show in November.

On Tuesday, Al Baker said, “We will place an order [at the Dubai Air Show], but I won’t tell you what.”

Al Baker was more definite on where he stood with the 787-10, however. “We are not interested. The size and economics of the dash 10 are very similar to the [Airbus] A350-9, plus it sits slightly over,” he said.

Boeing launched the 787-10, the largest version of the Dreamliner, at the Paris Air Show in June with 102 firm commitments from three major airlines and two leasing companies.

Qatar is the launch customer for the A350 with 80 A350s on order—43 -900s and 37 -1000s. Al Baker said the first A350 is contractually scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2014 and that he was confident that would be the case.

“I think [Airbus] will surely deliver it at that time. They don’t have any lithium batteries on their plane,” he said in a dig at the Boeing 787, which is experiencing delivery delays as a result of issues with its lithium battery system.

The A350 was originally designed to also have a lithium battery system, but Airbus switched to conventional batteries after the 787 battery-related issues.

Qatar also has 10 Airbus A380s on order plus three options. The first A380 is scheduled to be delivered in April 2014, Al Baker said.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

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