An unexpected scene took place last week at Portland Airport in the US. A Boeing 737 MAX 8 in Qatar Airways livery took off on February 17 towards Moses Lake.
The point is that Qatar Airways is not an official customer of the MAX 8, but of the MAX 10, of which it has ordered 25 aircraft with an option to purchase another 25 of them. The variant, however, should only come into operation in 2024.
With provisional registration N1780B, the 737 MAX 8 was spotted by Quentin Larsen days after the aircraft was seen with partial Qatar paint.
According to Scramble.nl, Qatar Airways would have closed a leasing agreement with ALC to receive eight Boeing 737 MAX 8 that should have been delivered to S7 Airlines, the Russian airline affected by Western sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine.
One of @qatarairways First maxes departing #pdx after getting painted. pic.twitter.com/Bk986YGouc
— Quentin Larsen (@lonewolf2122) February 17, 2023
Another 737 MAX 8 was also reportedly seen in Portland receiving the livery from the Qatari airline.
The company has a small fleet of narrow-body jets, made up of 29 Airbus A320s with an average age of almost 11 years.
Recently, Qatar reached an amicable settlement with Airbus following a legal dispute over premature surface wear on part of its A350s.
As a result, the manufacturer reinstated the order for 50 A321neo that had been canceled amid disagreements between the two companies.
Interestingly, Qatar already ordered the 737 MAX 8 in the past, but passed the jets on to Air Italy, an airline that ended up going bankrupt in 2020.