MIAMI – Qatar Airways (QR) CEO expressed this week the Doha-based flag carrier was considering a new large freighter aircraft order.

The Airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Akbar Al Baker said the airline was looking at a “very attractive proposition” from Boeing. This means the airline could be the Boeing 777X freighter version’s future launch customer when it is finally announced.

QR already operates 26 Boeing 777F. Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways

Freighter Order Coming Soon?

“As we are also growing our freight business, we need to be sustainable in that and we are going to imminently place a large freighter order,” Mr.Al Baker declared on Wednesday.

“I cannot tell you with whom we are going to place the order. But one thing I can say is that the proposal we have received from Boeing is very attractive to the airline.”

Mr Akbar Al-Baker was speaking during a ceremony to present the passenger version of the 777X in Doha (DOH), after the aircraft took part to the 2021 Dubaï Air Show. He also declared that QR expects to receive its first 777X in 2023, but this is of course depending on the certification process.

QR already has a strong freighter fleet, mainly Boeing aircraft. The airline operates 26 Boeing 777-200F, along with 2 Boeing 747-8F. The airline does not have any Airbus all-freighter aircraft, as it retired its A330F fleet at the beginning of the year.

The Boeing 777X was built to replace the 777. Photo: Micheal Rodeback/Airways

The Boeing 777X Freighter

Speaking about the 777X Freighter, the CEO said “We don’t only look at the price, we look at the performance, and I think the aircraft that Boeing is developing will outperform the current fleet that we have”

The new aircraft will replace the best-selling long-haul plane, the 777. The program is already 2 years late, as the certification process takes more time than what was previously planned. However, Boeing is confident the jet will be certified according to the new schedule.

The launch of the A350 freighter, announced earlier this year, is challenging Boeing, as the company was dominant in the freighter market. The Airbus freighter was ordered for the first time this week at the Dubaï Air Show.

The freighter version of the 777X could help Boeing keep its market share, as it is a very efficient aircraft. But we can guess that many airlines, as QR, express interest in the A350F too. QR owns more than 50 passengers A350s, and the freighter version would have a lot of common points with the passenger one.

However, Boeing did not announce the launch of the 777X Freighter version yet. However, they did announce they were talking “to several prospective customers and having advanced discussions with many of them on what they want and what the airplane would look like,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing.

Featured image; Qatar is considering a new aircraft order. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways