Qatar Airways has signed an agreement with Boeing for nine B777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes on the first day of the 2013 Paris Air Show.
The agreements include a firm order for two airplanes previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ orders and deliveries website, plus a commitment for an additional seven airplanes. The total value of the agreement is $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 777-200LR (Longer Range) airplanes and four 777 Freighters.
The two firm airplanes give Qatar Airways a backlog of nine Boeing 777s, with today’s deal taking the backlog to 16.
Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker, cited the model’s reliability, economics and range capability as key attributes, making it suited for serving long-haul destinations such as Australasia and the United States.
“Qatar Airways is leveraging the tried-and-trusted strengths of the 777-300ER that has allowed the airline to expand into key markets that it had not able to do before,” said aviation analyst Saj Ahmad.
“And with a sizeable Boeing 777 fleet as well as an expanding 787 fleet, Qatar Airways will further reduce costs with these new fuel efficient jets. The 777-300ERs also allow Qatar Airways to mitigate against the already delayed Airbus A350-1000 for which it is launch customer – and into the fact that the airline will seek to extract further homogeny with the 777-8X and 777-9X.
“One need only look to Emirates’ expansion and orders with the 777 to see just how that successful formula is working,” he added.
The deal also goes some way to repairing commercial links between both companies after the much-publicised problems with the Dreamliner.