Trump attends Qatar Cargo B777F signing ceremony

By Damian Brett

Qatar Airways orders five B777F in the presence of Donald Trump and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

US President Donald Trump and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, attended the signing ceremony for Qatar Airways’ order of five Boeing 777 freighters.

The order, worth $1.8bn at current list prices, was previously announced with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the Paris Air Show in June.

Trump’s presence indicated the importance of the deal. Firstly it comes as a boost to Boeing which has been under pressure over recent months because of the grounding of B737 Max aircraft, but  it also underlines the economic and military ties between the two countries.

Ahead of the signing, the President said: “They [Qatar] are buying a tremendous amount of military equipment, including planes, and they are buying commercial planes, as you know, very large numbers of commercial planes from Boeing and we very much appreciate it.

“We are going to be signing a document today – a very large transaction. It is a transaction that will be purchasing a lot of Boeing jets and a lot of money spent in our country and that means a lot of jobs. ”

The airline has the ambition of becoming the world’s largest cargo carrier and the order reaffirms that commitment.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “It is an honor to sign this landmark order for five Boeing 777 freighters in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar and US President Donald Trump.

“We are very pleased to extend our long-term relationship with Boeing Commercial Airplanes. This order will enable Qatar Airways Cargo to grow to become the number one global cargo carrier this year in both fleet and network and is a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to US manufacturing.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, Mr. Kevin McAllister, said: “It is an honor to be signing this agreement today with Qatar Airways, who has been our long-haul partner for more than 20 years. As one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers, we are delighted that Qatar Airways continues to expand its freighter fleet with the 777 Freighter and we deeply appreciate their business and positive impact on Boeing, our employees, suppliers and communities.”

The Boeing 777 freighter has the longest range of any twin-engined freighter and has a payload of 102 tonnes.

“The aircraft’s range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators, fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower handling costs and shorter delivery times,” Qatar Airways said.

The carrier’s cargo volumes increased by 10%  in 2018 over 2017. The carrier added bellyhold cargo capacity to several key destinations in its network and also received two brand new Boeing 777 freighters in 2018. It introduced freighters to two new destinations in May 2019; Guadalajara in Mexico and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

The freight division of Qatar Airways has witnessed significant growth over the past years – from three Airbus 300-600 freighters in 2003 to a fleet of 23 freighters and over 250 belly-hold cargo aircraft.

 

 

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