Saturday, October 1, 2011

Qatar Airways to announce A380 deal at Dubai show. Carrier signs contract for a few more superjumbos

Seattle: Qatar Airways has signed a fresh order for additional A380 aircraft, the airline's chief executive said here.

The new order for a "few more" superjumbos will be on top of the five aircraft that the airline previously ordered.

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said they will officially announce the deal in the upcoming Dubai Airshow.

"We ordered the A380s for a specific reason and we found the number we initially ordered to be insufficient. So we ordered a few more," Akbar Al Baker told Gulf News in Seattle on Friday.

Al Baker was at the Boeing plant in Seattle to receive the airline's 100th aircraft - a Boeing 777-200LR (long range).

Asked to elaborate on the A380 deal, Al Baker said: "We have already placed the order for more A380s but I will tell you how many at the Dubai Airshow."

The Doha-based carrier was believed to have planned an order announcement for a few more A380s, 20 A320s and four A321s at the Paris Air Show in June, but for unknown reasons decided against it at the last minute.

Asked if the airline would also announce deals for A320 and A321s, Al Baker said: "Maybe. Wait for the Dubai Airshow."

Rapid expansion

Meanwhile, the ninth Boeing 777-200LR received by the airline on Friday further strengthened Qatar Airways' commitment to rapidly expanding its route and fleet network.

"Qatar Airways is a key Middle East customer for Boeing.

"In just over a decade, the airline has grown to become a world-class airline with a rapidly expanding network.

"This is a tremendous achievement and we are proud the 777 was chosen to play a key role in this success," said Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Not interested in 747-8

With Boeing ready to roll out the passenger version of the 747-8 Intercontinental late this year, Qatar Airways is not showing any interest in the aircraft. Asked if Qatar Airways is interested in the aircraft, Akbar Al Baker, the airline's chief executive, categorically said: "No".

"We are not interested in Boeing's 747-8 passenger version. We believe in more frequencies with the smaller plane and the size of the 777 and 787 aircraft type perfectly suit our route structure and requirements. We don't believe in going with extra large capacities and dumping those into the markets," Al Baker said.

Boeing has already launched the freighter version of the 747-8 and is now gearing to hand over the first passenger version to Lufthansa, which is expected to put it into service early next year.

http://gulfnews.com

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