Qatar Airways is expecting its first Boeing 777X aircraft will arrive in 2022. Bucking comments and trends from other airlines, CEO Akbar Al Baker stated he anticipates the first 777X arriving at the airline in 2022.
Qatar Airways expects Boeing 777X deliveries next year
Speaking at the Future Flying Webinar exclusively with Simple Flying, CEO Akbar Al Baker stated the following:
“I don’t think Boeing is going to delay this aeroplane beyond 2022 I think next year they will start delivering those aeroplanes and Qatar Airways will take deliveries of its aeroplanes when it is ready to be delivered.”
Qatar Airways has 60 Boeing 777X aircraft on order. These planes will play an integral role in the airline’s fleet. In 2014, Qatar Airways placed an order for 50 Boeing 777-9s, with an option for 50 more. In 2015, Qatar Airways followed this up with an order for 10 777-8s, taking its overall order to 60 aircraft.
Keeping Qatar Airways’ fleet age down
The Boeing 777X is a large part of Qatar Airways’ fleet renewal and modernization plans. The airline seeks to keep its planes at younger than 10 years. According to data from ch-aviation.com, Qatar Airways has 232 aircraft in its fleet (including cargo jets) with an average age of 6.8 years.
The oldest jets in the fleet are the Boeing 777-200LRs, Airbus A330s, and Airbus A321s. Qatar Airways will use the A321neos to replace the A321ceos, and the mix of Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 deliveries will take over the A330s.
Then comes the Airbus A380, which Mr. Al Baker considers the airplane a mistake in the airline’s historical aircraft orders. The airline is already planning to halve that fleet and will likely retire even more jets.
To replace the Airbus A380s and the Boeing 777s ready for retirement, the Boeing 777X will carry much of that burden, which is why Qatar Airways wants the aircraft to come sooner rather than later.
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When will the airline get its first 777X?
Unfortunately for Qatar Airways, the Boeing 777X introduction is largely out of its control. Regulatory review and Boeing’s own plans for releasing the aircraft will trump Qatar’s desires. If a regulatory agency does not certify the 777X, then Qatar Airways can’t take delivery of an aircraft.
In January, Boeing announced a delay to its 777X program, stating it would not deliver the first jet until late 2023. The aircraft manufacturer cited the market for widebody jets and ongoing conversations with regulatory agencies as reasons for delay to the certification for the aircraft.
British Airways then announced it would take its first Boeing 777X in 2024, and Cathay Pacific followed up soon after with negotiations to defer the 777X order. Lufthansa, however, is pleased with the delays and has not made major deferral or order restructures.
Arguably the most vocal executive on the 777X, Sir Tim Clark at Emirates, stated at a Simple Flying Webinar that the first 777X delivery could be as late as 2025. He called the program in “a state of disarray.”
Ultimately, Qatar Airways’ CEO adds some fuel to the fire of interest in the Boeing 777X delivery timeline. Boeing seems to be sticking with 2023, and Qatar Airways, just over a month ago, seemed fine with that timeline, expecting its first jets in 2023.
Now, it seems Mr. Al Baker is trying to push to get its 777X jets a little earlier in 2022. While much of that remains out of his hands, there is clearly excitement on his part for the jets. Whether they do come in 2022 or later remains to be seen, however.
Do you think Qatar Airways will take its first 777X in 2022? Let us know in the comments!