Boeing continues its excellent performance at Farnborough Airshow 2022, launching into day four with an order for 50 737 MAX from Qatar Airways. The Middle East airline placed a firm order for 25 of the most significant variant, the 737 MAX 10, with options for a further 25 of the type. Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal commented,
“We are honored that Qatar Airways has decided to add Boeing’s single-aisle family to its fleet, depending on our relationship with this world-class airline. The 737-10 is ideally suited for Qatar Airways’ regional network, and will give the carrier the most capable, most fuel-efficient airplane in its class.”
Qatar’s commitment to Boeing arrives amidst heightened tensions between the Middle East airline and Boeing’s rival Airbus. An issue with the surface paintwork on some of the Airbus A350s worked by Qatar has seen the airline taking the planemaker to court, culminating in Airbus revoking Qatar’s order not only for the outstanding A350s but also for the A321.
Qatar had dealt a Memorandum of Understanding for the 737 MAX in January this year, provisionally committing to 50 of the type. This was a replacement for the Airbus narrowbodies it had lost amid the conflict. However, the provisional deal for the 737 MAX 10s expired in early July
This was announced by Airbus during the court cases being held to address the A350 issue. Qatar had attempted to include the 737 MAX order as part of its demands for compensation from Airbus.
The airline’s relationship with the 737 MAX has been a very on-again, off-again saga. Back in 2016, it originally signed for 30 737 MAX plus 30 options for airplanes intended to end up in the fleet of its startup airline, Air Italy. However, after Air Italy collapsed in February 2020, Qatar Airways no longer required the planes, and the order was revoked.
Plucking aircraft from the very top and bottom of Boeing’s families, Qatar Airways also has a significant commitment to the forthcoming 777X. During the same period that the MAX MOU was signed, back in January, Qatar also signed up for up to 50 of the 777X freighter, with 34 firms and 16 options. The airline already had orders in for 50 777-9 and 34 777-8 for passenger service.
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Al Baker had indicated that he expects to be the launch customer for the 777X and expects that Boeing will beat its delivery target of 2025.
“We will be the first [Boeing 777X] recipient. We are the first launch customer with Emirates in the good old days… Boeing has already announced that [the first delivery] is 2025. It was supposed to be 2022, originally 2021… I actually expect that they could even improve on 2025.”
It had been rumored that the Qatar boss had even been thinking of augmenting his order for the 777X this week at Farnborough, but as yet, that rumor has not been confirmed to be true. Nevertheless, the 737 MAX order is further evidence that Boeing has truly shaken off the challenging beginning this plane had in its in-service life, and that it is indeed a powerful narrowbody family for Boeing’s future.
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