Qatar Airways has ordered up to 50 of Boeing’s new 777-8 freighter aircraft – the largest freighter commitment in Boeing’s history by value.
The Middle Eastern airline will be the launch customer for the new aircraft, having placed a firm order for 34 jets and an option for 16 more.
Boeing said the 777-8 freighter will have a payload capacity “nearly identical” to the 747-400 freigther, but with a 25 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs, enabling “a more sustainable and profitable business for operators”.
“We are delighted to launch Boeing’s next great cargo airplane – the 777-8 Freighter – with Qatar Airways, one of the world’s largest cargo carriers and our partner since the airline began operations 25 years ago,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ president and CEO Stan Deal.
“Our team is ready to create an airplane that will serve them well for many decades. Qatar Airways’ selection of the efficient 777-8 Freighter is a testament to our commitment to provide freighters with market-leading capacity, reliability and efficiency.
“We are proud that Boeing provides over 90% of the world’s dedicated freighter capacity. With global supply chains under pressure and high demand for e-commerce, the performance and capabilities of the fleet is more important than ever.”
As part of the agreement, Qatar Airways will convert 20 of its 60 777X family orders to the 777-8 freighter and has ordered two current 777 Freighters to capitalise on the “buoyant” air cargo market.
Qatar Airways’ group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Boeing has a long history of building market-leading freighter aircraft and Qatar Airways is honoured to have the opportunity to be the launch customer for the 777-8 Freighter, an aircraft that will not only allow us to further enhance our product offering for our customers, but also help us meet our objectives to deliver a sustainable future for our business.”