Qatar Airways takes delivery of first 747-8 freighter

The Boeing 747-8 freighter adorned with Qatar Airways livery displayed during the delivery ceremony
The Boeing 747-8 freighter adorned with Qatar Airways livery displayed during the delivery ceremony at Everett, Washington

Qatar Airways yesterday announced an order for two Boeing 747-8 freighters and four 777-300ERs, valued at $2.16bn at list prices. The order, a sign of the airline’s continued expansion as well as contribution to the US economy, adds to the carrier’s current fleet of nearly 100 Boeing wide-body airplanes and its more than 100 additional Boeing aircraft on order. The announcement was made at a delivery ceremony at Everett, Washington, where the airline also received the first of its 747-8 freighters. The programme was attended by Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker, Boeing vice- chairman Raymond Connor, and Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive officer Kevin McAllister.

 


Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker flanked by Boeing vice chairman Ray Conner (L) and Boeing CEO Kevin McAlliste (R) cuts the ribbon during delivery ceremony of  Boeing 747-8 freighter at Everett, Washington.

There have been many milestones in Qatar Airways’ relationship with Boeing, and yesterday’s announcement is the latest development in this strong relationship. Qatar Airways was the first airline to operate the 787 in the Middle East, is a launch customer for the 777X, and has 20 737 MAX airplanes on order. In 2016 Qatar’s national carrier placed a record $11.7bn order from Boeing for 30 B787-9 Dreamliners and 10 777-300ERs.

The 747-8 freighter gives cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is optimised to provide greater revenue cargo-carrying capability than the 747-400, offering 16% more cargo volume while keeping its unique nose door. Al-Baker said: “Qatar Airways operates one of the youngest and fastest growing fleets in the sky, and Boeing unceasingly proves to be a valuable partner to us in providing the quality aircraft that make us the world’s third largest international cargo carrier. We are very appreciative of our enduring partnership with Boeing, as it is key to our future growth, and we look forward to continuing to work with this important US partner.”

McAllister said: “We are proud of our strong, enduring and growing partnership with Qatar Airways and we truly appreciate the value its business has brought to Boeing, its employees, suppliers and our communities. As one of the world’s largest international cargo carriers, it is heartening that Qatar Airways has selected the 747-8 Freighter to meet its growing cargo operations and to see the important role the 777-300ER continues to play in its long-haul fleet.”

Qatar Airways to accept 4 Airbus A350 

Qatar Airways is to accept the four Airbus A350 aircraft that it had previously cancelled in July. Speaking at an event in which he formally accepted delivery of Qatar Airways’ first Boeing 747-8 freighter, Al Baker said the plan to take the four Airbus planes “is definite.” He added he will be “concluding an agreement shortly, for which I will be flying to Toulouse from here,” referring to the Airbus site.  “A deal has been reached allowing the four planes, still in Qatar Airways colours and parked in Toulouse, France, to be delivered in the near future,” one of the sources said.
Reversing the cancellation will spare Airbus millions of dollars in charges to convert the cabins for another airline and means the order for 4 jets could be re-posted to Airbus’s list of sales for the A350, of which Qatar is the largest customer.