Qatar Airways expects to have three 777X jetliners starting in 2023, Akbar al-Baker, the carrier’s CEO, said on Tuesday.
The chief executive of the Middle Eastern airline attended a webinar where he explained that “Boeing has already notified us that there will be a delay on the delivery of those aircraft until 2023. We will take the 777X whenever it is ready as soon as it is ready.”
Qatar currently has 60 firm orders for the largest twin-engine passenger jet in the world, with 50 planes of the 777-9 variant and 10 of the 777-8 model, with greater autonomy.
Baker was also asked about a potential 777X cargo variant and again considered Qatar as a future customer. “We don’t know about it, they have not launched it officially. And when they notify us that they are going to launch freighter version of the 777X, we will definitely be interested to look into it,” said the CEO.
It is not the first time that Qatar has shown interest in a cargo variant of the new 777. In 2019, the same Akbar Al Baker called for Boeing to launch the aircraft during an interview at the Paris Air Show in which he announced an order for five new 777Fs , of which it has 24 units in service and two others pending delivery.
So far, Boeing has not officially mentioned the existence of plans for a cargo version of the 777X, but a 2015 brochure that included data from the new generation considered this possibility.
“A freighter version is being considered using the -8X airframe and may be available 18-24 months after the -8X enters service,” said the document.
It is worth remembering that the 777-8 program is frozen, pending the certification of the 777-9, currently being carried out by four test aircraft in the US.