Qatar orders more B777 freighters

QATAR Airways has announced its intention to order four new B777 freighters – with options for up to four more – as part of a potential US$37.7billion passenger and cargo aircraft shopping spree with Boeing, writes Nigel Tomkins, managing director.
The planemaker and Qatar have also finalised an order for 50 passenger B777-9Xs, valued at $18.9 billion at current list prices.
The B777X order, first announced as a commitment at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, is part of the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history. 
In addition, the airline has announced a commitment for 50 additional B777-9X purchase rights. If exercised, that would take Qatar’s B777X total order tally to 100 units valued at $37.7 billion at list prices.
"Qatar Airways continuously builds upon its successful fleet programme, and this latest announcement demonstrates the quality equipment we acquire to deliver on our signature five-star service," says Akbar Al Baker, chief executive.
"The B777 is the backbone of our fleet and is highly amenable to the standards Qatar Airways upholds. We look forward to building on our legacy with the next-generation B777-9X."
The giant B777X order signifies a new chapter in Boeing’s relationship with Qatar Airways, “as well as their ongoing confidence in the value of the B777 freighter,” says Ray Conner, Boeing chief executive.
“These orders validate the market-leading role that the B777 and now the B777X will continue to play in the Middle East’s passenger and cargo market," he adds.
The B777X will introduce the latest technologies including the most advanced commercial engine ever – the GE9X by GE Aviation – and an all-new high-efficiency composite wing that has a longer span than today’s B777.
The B777X family includes the B777-8X and the B777-9X, bringing up to 12 per cent more fuel efficiency than any competing aircraft, Boeing points out.
Design of the B777X is underway and production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020.
Boeing currently provides some 90 per cent of the total worldwide dedicated freighter capacity.
The B777 freighter is capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 km) with a full payload and general cargo market densities, making it the world’s longest-range twin-engine cargo jet.
Its range capability translates into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing fees, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times.
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