By Shane McGinley
Qatar Airways inks deal for six Boeing 777-300ER wide-body aircraft at Paris Air Show
Qatar Airways, the Gulf Arab state's flagship carrier, announced an order for six Boeing 777-300ER wide-body aircraft at the Paris Air Show Sunday.
The order is valued at $1.7bn at list prices, Boeing told reporters at a joint press event.
Qatar Airways signed a $1.3bn contract with the US planemaker in April to buy five Boeing 777 planes to add to its existing 97-plane fleet. The airline already operates 25 777s.
Along with Gulf rivals Etihad and Emirates Airway, Qatar Airways is one of the largest buyers of new aircraft, with orders for 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and five Airbus SAS A380s.
The CEO of the Doha-based carrier, which is half owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, said last week it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in 2011.
"It could be this year. The more market share we gain, the timeline moves forward," Akbar Al Baker said."It will definitely be earlier than people expect."
The airline this month closed a deal to buy a 35 percent stake in European all-freight airline Cargolux for an undisclosed sum, as it seeks a greater slice of the air freight market.
Qatar Airway said in March it would hire 11,500 new staff over the next three years to keep pace with an expansion plan that will see it serve 120 destinations by 2013.
The airline intends to grow its fleet to more than 120 aircraft during the same period.
Qatar, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is building a new airport with the capacity to accommodate 50 million passengers per year.
It will host the 2022 football World Cup tournament.
Qatar Airways a nice airline. I hope Qatar Airways will order 20 of the Boeing 787-10 and push Airbus to add a new version of the Airbus 350 and allow the 350 to be powered by General Electric. Congrats to Qatar Airways. I hope to see more cities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.