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Qatar Airways expands fleet
Doha-based airline orders seven additional Boeing 777s.
June 17, 2013 5:56 by Muhammad Aldalou
Qatar Airways has announced a purchase order for nine Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft on the opening day of the Paris Air Show. According to Reuters, the purchase was estimated at $2.8 billion at list prices.
The Doha-based carrier began taking deliveries of Boeing 777s in November 2007 – utilising them to fly to long-haul destinations in Europe, Southern Africa, North America and South America – and has continued to expand its fleet.
The airline’s outstanding order for seven Boeing 777s will increase to 16 – and boost its current fleet of 35 triple sevens to 51 aircraft. Two of the aircraft on firm order will be delivered in early 2014, says Akbar Al-Baker, airline chief executive, Qatar Airways.
While addressing media at a press conference at Le Bourget, venue of the Paris Air Show, Al Baker says the 777 has “proved popular” with passengers and made a positive impact on the airline’s operations, and has now been established as the flagship aircraft for long-haul flights.
“With its reliability, economics and range capability, the 777 will continue to play a key role in enabling Qatar Airways to operate more direct non-stop flights from our hub in Doha to destinations in many markets, including Australasia and the United States,” he says.
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and with a determined, outspoken leader in Al-Baker, the Doha-based airline has continued to maintain a powerful media presence with a series of major announcements.
Earlier this month, when asked whether the airline would be among the first batch of buyers of Boeing’s 787-10x, Al-Baker said: “We like launching aircraft, but not every aircraft. We are not a supermarket.”
As for its fleet of 20 Boeing 787 aircraft, the airline was only recently (early May) given the green light to operate them freely. They were grounded for three months – costing the airline roughly $200 million in financial losses. When Kipp spoke to Al-Baker at this year’s Arabian Travel Market, he said: “We don’t buy planes to park them on the ground.”
A few days ago, the airline announced its decision to halt all flights to the Seychelles as of September 1 this year, due to commercial reasons.