Qatar Air signs $2.8bn deal to buy Boeing 777s

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Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways has signed an agreement to buy up to nine Boeing 777-300ER aircraft valued at $2.8bn at list prices, the airline said at the Paris Airshow on Monday.

Two of the aircraft on firm order will be delivered in early 2014, airline CEO Akbar Al Baker said.

Options for the other seven are likely to be firmed up shortly after, and the delivery schedule will be decided then, he added.

The Doha-based airline currently operates 35 Boeing passenger and cargo 777s of various types.

"With its reliability, economics and range capability, the 777 will continue to play a key role in enabling Qatar Airways to operate more direct non-stop flights from our hub in Doha to destinations in many markets including Australasia and the United States," said Al Baker.

"We have already shown a desire to open up new destinations in the US, and the Boeing 777 will further feature in our expansion plans in this part of the world."

Qatar Airways took delivery of its first Boeing 777 in November 2007. In September 2011, the airline received a 777-200LR that became the 100th airplane to join its fleet.

"It is a great honor to have Qatar Airways operate the 777 as its long-haul flagship aircraft," said Ray Conner, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The demand for the Boeing 777 led to an increased production rate of 8.3 per month - 100 airplanes per year - in February. In the past three years, the 777 programmr has increased rate two times, first from five airplanes per month to seven in 2011, then to the current, all-time high rate of 8.3.

As of May, 1,105 777s have been delivered and a total of 1,452 have been ordered by 68 customers around the globe.

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