Qatar Airways has announced commitments for nine Boeing 777-300ER jets at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
The agreements include a firm order for two Boeing 777-300ER widebodies previously attributed to an unidentified customer on the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Orders and Deliveries website, plus a commitment for an additional seven aircraft.
Boeing values Qatar Airways’ commitments for the nine widebodies at $2.8 billion at current list prices.
The Doha-based airline currently operates 35 Boeing passenger and cargo 777s of various types, including 22 777-300ERs, nine Boeing 777-200LR jets and four 777 Freighters.
According to Boeing, the two aircraft on firm order give Qatar Airways a Boeing 777 firm-order backlog of nine aircraft. When the airline signs a firm order for the additional seven 777-300ERs to which it committed on June 17 at the Paris Air Show 2013, the backlog will rise to 16 777s, increasing Qatar Airways’ 777 fleet eventually to 51 aircraft.
“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,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways’ chief executive officer, speaking at a press conference at Le Bourget on the opening day of the Paris Air Show 2013.
“We have already shown a desire to open up new destinations in the U.S., and the Boeing 777 will further feature in our expansion plans in this part of the world,” Al Baker added.
Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of 125 aircraft to 128 business and leisure destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
The carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 777 in November 2007. In September 2011, Qatar Airways received a Boeing 777-200LR which was the 100th aircraft to join its fleet.
Demand for the Boeing 777 led Boeing to increase its 777 production rate to 8.3 aircraft per month ‒ 100 aircraft a year ‒ in February. In the past three years, Boeing has increased the 777 production rate twice, first from five aircraft per month to seven in 2011, then to the current, all-time high rate of 8.3.
As of May, 1,105 777s had been delivered and a total of 1,452 had been ordered by 68 customers around the globe.
Qatar Airways has so far launched service to six new destinations this year – Gassim in Saudi Arabia; Basra and Najaf in Iraq; Phnom Penh in Cambodia; Chicago; and Salalah in Oman. The carrier began its service to Basra earlier this month.
Over the next 10 months, Qatar Airways will expand its network with the addition of five more destinations: Sulaymaniyah in Iraq, on August 20; Chengdu in China, on September 3; Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, on September 18; Clark International Airport in the Philippines, on October 28; and Philadelphia, on April 2, 2014.
Qatar Airways currently has orders vaued at more than $50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and the A320 family of aircraft.