Qatar Airways has just booked an $18 billion order for Boeing planes, including its first-ever 737 orders. That part of the order comes because Qatar is unhappy with the delayed delivery schedule of its A320neos from Airbus.
The order includes 30 787-9 Dreamliners, and another 10 777-300ER planes. The 777's extreme range got Boeing the order; some of them are intended for a Doha to Auckland route. Akbar al Baker, Qatar's CEO, told a Boeing press conference that "as you know there is no other aircraft with that range that will make this route service possible." Qatar already flies mostly Boeing planes in its long-range fleet.
Al Baker said Qatar will still take its A320s when they become available, saying "we never renege on contracts that we sign." He noted that airlines that are getting the 'neos' now are getting them slowly and having problems.
For Boeing, the order comes at a good time for keeping all its production lines open. Aircraft deliveries are often for specific times when an airline expects to be ready to use them, and the 777s for Qatar are now set for what would have been a slow moment on that line.
Al Baker, right, and Boeing Commercial CEO Ray Conner, left. Photo: Boeing