Qatar Airways is looking to grow its current fleet of 112 aircraft to at least 170 by 2015 and may look to acquire Boeing’s larger Dreamliner 787-10X and Bombardier’s stalled CSeries, the airline’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, told reporters.
“We will definitely be one of the major global players… Within the next three years, Qatar Airways fleet will expand to 170 aircraft, and we will be flying to nearly 170 destinations,” Al Baker said as the carrier took delivery of the region’s first Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft.
“As you know, we have 30 firm orders for the 787 and an option for another 30… We are going to receive another four, so it will be five this year. The delivery of Dreamliners for us is going to go right into 2017,” he added when asked about the carrier’s schedule for its latest aircraft model.
Qatar Airways’ first Dreamliner is part of the 787-8 variety, but Al Baker said he would also be interested in the larger 787-10X model, which Boeing is currently developing.
“We would be very interested. On the paper today Boeing is telling us [the 787-10X] will have one of the best seat mile costs of any aircraft that is flying today. As Qatar Airways is always looking at new innovations in our business we would be very interested,” he said.
The Doha-based carrier currently has a fleet of 112 aircraft and has 247 - worth around US$50bn - on order or on option. While its current order book is made up of Boeing and Airbus models, Al Baker said he was also ready to restart discussions with Canadian manufacturer Bombardier to potentially order some of its CSeries aircraft.
“We are still interested in the CSeries,” he confirmed. “We will restart negotiations with Bombardier some time hopefully in the next year. We are waiting first for Bombardier to fly the aircraft, as you can see they have already delayed the flight and I am sure they have similar problems that other new aircraft programs face.”
Qatar Airways had been expected to be the launch customer for the CSeries two years ago before negotiations broke down. Montreal-based Bombardier is expected to complete its first CSeries flight by the end of the year.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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