By Andy Sambidge
Airline CEO says carrier will be first in the Middle East to operate the new Boeing 787
Qatar Airways is set to take delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in June, CEO Akbar Al Baker has said.
The carrier has placed firm orders for 30 Dreamliners at $6bn in list price, Al Baker said in comments published by Qatar daily Gulf Times on Monday.
“We have an option for another 30 787 Dreamliners,” Al Baker said, adding that the delivery of the entire 30 Dreamliners to Qatar Airways will be over a four-year period.
The Qatar Airways chief said the airline would be the first airline in the Middle East to operate a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
“Also most probably, I think we will be the first airliner to operate a 787 into Europe. We are more aggressive than our competition when it comes to deploying new products, and of course, new aircraft into our fleet," Al Baker was quoted as saying during a visit by the 787 to Doha as part of Boeing's dream tour of the new aircraft.
Asked what routes Qatar Airways was looking at to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Al Baker said: “We are looking at both long range and mid-range to Europe and beyond, in this aircraft.”
On Qatar Airways’ proposed IPO, he said: “Well, this has been delayed. I don’t know when we will do it. It all depends on the economic situation, globally. As you know, the world is getting into deep recession. So, it is not the right time to go…or even talk about the IPO.”
Boeing postponed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner seven times, resulting in a three-year delay, after grappling with new materials, engine supply disruptions and other problems.
More than 820 of the jets are on order to 55 airlines, including Gulf carriers Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Amman-based Royal Jordanian.
The US aircraft giant has promised the twin-engine plane will deliver a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, at a time of $100-plus oil.