Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner's have been beating fuel burn estimates, said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar’s chief executive, at a high-profile acceptance ceremony for the airline's 24th and 25th jets Wednesday.
Leaders from Boeing and Qatar Airways turned out in force for the event, which was held at the Boeing Delivery Center in Everett.
In his remarks, Baker said that while Qatar had at one point considered canceling its Dreamliner orders as Boeing struggled with early 787 production woes, he’s now completely satisfied with the jet.
“That chapter we all closed successfully,” he said. “In every respect, the 787 has become a game changer.”
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner, who called Baker a friend, acknowledged the prior difficulties.
“It hasn’t been the easiest of journeys, but it’s a journey we made together,” Conner said. “I want to thank you for sticking with us.”
Baker said he hopes that Qatar will exercise options for more 787s in the future, which he added would be conversions for larger 787-9s.
Qatar was the Middle East launch customer for the 787, Boeing’s twin-aisle jet, mostly made from carbon composites.
The delivery is especially important to Boeing because the big Middle East carriers – Qatar, Emirates and Ethiad – are all heavy buyers of wide-body jets for their long-range routes.
In a forecast made public Wednesday, Boeing said it expects Middle East Airlines will buy more than 3,000 airplanes in the next 20 years, worth more than $730 billion. Nearly half of those aircraft will be expensive wide-bodies, as opposed to just 23 percent of orders for wide-bodies globally.
(Steve Wilhelm - Puget Sound Business Journal)