Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said he is interested in purchasing Boeing’s upgraded version of the popular 777 aircraft when it is officially launched, but said he was unhappy with the engine performance of its current fleet of 777 aircraft.
A Bloomberg news report claimed the 777X was currently awaiting approval to start production, but Al Baker said he had already met Boeing about a possible deal.
“They have given us a presentation and when they launch their aircraft we will be very interested,” he said.
However, when asked about the carrier’s existing fleet of 777 aircraft, Al Baker said he was not happy with the engine performance from the General Electric (GE) engines.
“We have issues with the G90 [engine]. We are not happy with them... GE knows about it… the on-wing performance of the engine,” he said.
Qatar Airways has taken delivery of 33 777 aircraft and currently has nine left to receive. The General Electric GE90 engine is a family of high-bypass turbofan aircraft engines built by GE Aviation exclusively for the Boeing 777.
Despite Al Baker’s reservations, Boeing announced in March said GE has been chosen as its engine partner for the development study on the 777X.
"This decision to work with GE going forward reflects the best match to the development program, schedule and airplane performance," said Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager, 777X Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"We are studying airplane improvements that will extend today's 777 efficiencies and reliability for the next two decades or longer, and the engines are a significant part of that effort. Our focus is on providing the most competitive offering to our customers in the large twin aisle market."