MIAMI – The state visit of French President, Emmanuel Macron, on Qatari land, was the perfect scenario to score a new deal for 50 Airbus A321ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration), to be acquired by the country’s flag carrier, Qatar Airways.
The Gulf carrier will make an investment of $6.4 billion with an option to buy 36 more. This updated order replaces the original one placed in 2011.
#QatarAirways is delighted to announce that it has reconfirmed and upsized an order to buy 50 @Airbus A321neo aircraft, signed today in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and French President Macron at a value of $6.35bn. pic.twitter.com/STmwRdl3sr
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) December 7, 2017
According to Qatar Airways Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, the order was placed “to answer our need for growth and additional capacity.”
Al Baker said that the A321neoACF “is a world-class choice for our passengers and for our business.”
This order comes in following last May’s major disagreement between Airbus and Qatar Airways concerning the delivery of the A320neo.
During a press conference, at the time, Al Baker directly blamed Airbus for slowing Qatar’s growth because of the engine troubles that delayed the aircraft’s delivery.
“We have five more routes that we would like to announce, but we can’t, because of delivery delays from Airbus,” he stated.
Airways asked Al Baker about the issue during his announcement in May, and he replied, “They’re not there yet. We walked away from its first A320neo delivery, two days ago,” because of continued issues with its engines from Pratt & Whitney.
Today, however, both France and Qatar signed various contracts to cover different interests of both nations.
This state visit comes after Qatar was hit by numerous sanctions imposed by neighboring countries.
The French President’s initial goal was to reach a diplomatic release to the tense geopolitical situation. However, the meeting finalized with an agreement that involved 50 Airbus aircraft.
“These contracts underline the closeness of our commercial ties,” said Macron as he remarked the contracts were valued at $14.1 billion.
Among the deals reached: France’s Dassault Aviation sold 12 French-built Rafale fighter jets, and Airbus sold 50 A321 with options for 36 more.
Also, the French National Railway Company, along with Paris Metro Company, RATP, won a contract to run the Doha metro, and French state-owned armaments company, Nexter, sold 490 armored vehicles as well.
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“We are pleased that a signature airline like Qatar Airways has chosen the A321neo ACF,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, and President Commercial Aircraft.
“This is an endorsement for the largest member of our single-aisle family. It confirms the aircraft’s strong position as the ideal Middle of the Market airplane for the Middle East.”
Qatar Airways has 39 A320s in its fleet and eight A321-200s. The A321 is the largest member of the A320 Family, seating up to 240 passengers.