Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker says the Doha-based air carrier is keen to add more freighters to its fleet, as the air freight market is likely to remain strong after the COVID-19 crisis is resolved.
“We are really hungry for more freighters. Unfortunately, Dave (Boeing CEO) cannot produce more Boeing 777X freighters. The earliest they can give us [the aircraft – ed. note] is in 2023,” Al Baker said during an interview on Bloomberg TV on June 22, 2021.
During an interview, the boss of Qatar Airways indicated that the airline would be “very keen” to be a launch customer for either Boeing 777X freighter or Airbus A350 freighter.
“We are very keen to be a launch customer. Be it for the Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X freighters,” Al Baker said.
Earlier in June 2021, Boeing reportedly began offering a freighter version of Boeing 777X to the Doha-based air carrier.
“Qatar Airways is very interested in purchasing a large fleet of freighters because we have to now start replacing our old freighters,” Al Baker told Reuters in June 2021. “We would be very keen to place an order with Boeing or with Airbus. It all depends on how things proceed.”
Despite being interested in expanding its freighter fleet, Qatar Airways CEO marked that “first we are an airline to carry passengers”.
To date, Qatar Airways has 60 orders for Boeing 777X passenger aircraft, as per Boeing data. The 777X has been beset with production delays and delivery deferrals, irritating many airline customers. The new passenger version of Boeing’s popular 777 series is not scheduled to start delivery to airlines until late 2023, three years later than the aircraft manufacturer had planned.