Qatar Airways in talks with Airbus and Boeing about wide-body plane order, CEO says

The size of the order will be in the three-digit range, Badr Al Meer says

Qatar Airways chief executive Badr Al Meer at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Qatar Airways is in discussions with Airbus and Boeing about a wide-body aircraft order, its chief executive Badr Al Meer has said.

The order is in the three-digit range, the airline boss told reporters on the sidelines of the 80th International Air Transport Association's annual meeting in Dubai on Monday.

He said a Bloomberg report on Sunday about talks on Airbus A350 and Boeing 777X wide-body jets, which had cited sources, was correct for the most part but the reported order size of 200 jets was off by, give or take, 30 per cent.

This would indicate a minimum of 140 wide-body jets and as many as 260.

However, Mr Al Meer declined to confirm the exact number of aircraft that may be ordered.

State-owned Qatar Airways, which recently outlined plans to buy a stake in an airline in southern Africa, is expected to make an announcement about the deal in the next two to three months, Mr Al Meer said.

This comes as part of the airline's wider plans to grow its route network across the continent following partnerships with Kigali-based RwandAir and Morocco's flagship carrier Royal Air Maroc.

Qatar Airways, which flies to more than 30 destinations in Africa, finalised a 49 per cent stake in RwandAir, Mr Al Meer said.

The Gulf airline, which took a 60 per cent stake in the $1.3 billion new Bugesera International Airport south-east of Kigali in 2019, is now working with RwandAir on the new airport plans, he said.

Qatar Airways is also in talks with Australia about its request to increase the number of destinations it operates to the country, Mr Al Meer said.

“We continue all communication with the Australian government and we see it moving in a positive way. Hopefully, in the next few months, we will get some positive news from Australia,” he said.

“We are looking forward to expanding and growing more in the Australian market.”

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is reviewing its fleet to reduce the number of aircraft types in order to better "streamline" operations and have more "consistency" in its offering to passengers, Mr Al Meer said last month.

Its fleet includes the Airbus A320 family, A330s, A350s and A380s, while its Boeing aircraft models include the 737 family, 787 Dreamliner and the 777 wide-bodies.

The next phase of the airline's development, dubbed 'Qatar Airways 2.0', will examine its commercial operations, the profitability of certain routes in the network and its fleet mix, Mr Al Meer said at the time.

"Having seven different type of aircraft in our fleet mix is putting pressure on us when it comes to maintenance, spare parts, training our pilots and training our cabin crew," he said.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 8:54 AM