Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int’l) plans to take delivery of its first B777-9 in the second half of 2023 and is currently studying a “very attractive” offer for the still unofficial B777X freighter, Qatar Airways Group Managing Director Akbar Al Baker told Reuters at the Dubai Airshow.
“We are seriously considering placing a large freight order, a freight order, because as we are also expanding our freight business, we need to be sustainable in this area, and we will be placing a large freight order shortly …” We don’t just look at the price, we look at the performance, and I think the aircraft that Boeing is developing will surpass the current fleet that we have, “he said.
Boeing has yet to officially confirm that it will develop the B777X freighter variant, although it is expected to do so after Airbus, at the Dubai Airshow, unveiled its A350 freighter with Air. Lease Corporation, its provisional launch client.
The B777-9 made its international debut at the Dubai Air Show, although the type is still far from certified. After several delays, Boeing expects to be able to certify the new widebody variant by July 2023.
Emirates President Tim Clark said the carrier would not finalize deliveries until the type was certified. Emirates initially hoped to get its first B777-9 in 2020.
Boeing has so far recorded 320 firm orders for its B777X range, including 286 orders for the larger -9 variant and 34 for the B777-8, according to the advanced ch-aviation fleet module. Most of the customers are in the Gulf region: Emirates with sixteen -8 and ninety-six -9, Qatar Airways with ten and fifty units respectively and Etihad Airways with eight and seventeen respectively.
On the way back from Dubai World Central, Boeing’s B777-9 N779XW (msn 64240) test bench flew to Doha Hamad Int’l and then to Frankfurt Int’l. Lufthansa is the other big customer of the type with twenty -9 on order.