Qatar Airways wants to be the first airline to operate the Boeing 777X, according to their CEO, Akbar Al Baker. Baker also commented on how he expects that the aircraft to be delivered on time.
In total, 344 Boeing 777X aircraft have been ordered so far. Qatar was the fifth carrier to order the aircraft and has placed the second largest order. The most recent Boeing 777X order was placed by British Airways earlier this year.
The Boeing 777X is the latest iteration of the Boeing 777 family of aircraft. While it’s based on the original 777 design, there are some radically redesigned elements on the 777X. Arguably the most well known of these is the aircraft’s folding wing tips.
Boeing will offer two variants of the 777X. This will include the Boeing 777-8 and 777-9. While the 777-9 is longer and carries more passengers, it has a shorter range than the 777-8. Boeing would then potentially create a 777-10 if there is suitable demand. The final member of the 777X family is the 777X Boeing Business Jet.
While the 777-9 is proving to be a hit with airlines, the 777-8 is not doing so well. Around 85% of total 777X orders are for the 777-9. So far, only the Middle Eastern carriers, Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, have ordered the smaller 777-8. Qatar Airways has placed an order for 10 -8s, and 50 -9s.
Qatar will be particularly happy to receive its latest 777 aircraft. The operator is looking to use the aircraft to replace the A380 aircraft which it currently operates. Qatar Airways wants to retire the A380s when they each turn 10 years old. It appears the aircraft is not favoured by Al Baker who told Aviation Analyst “Once we have paid our financial obligations, they will go”.
Of course, this could turn into an opportunity for other carriers to pick up second-hand A380 aircraft. Airbus previously told Simple Flying that they will be actively supporting a second-hand A380 market. Additionally, the A380 itself will be supported for as long as carriers keep flying it.
First 777 operator?
According to Air Transport World, Mr Al Baker has said that he hopes Qatar Airways will be the first operator to fly the Boeing 777X. Lufthansa will be the launch customer for the 777X, with their first aircraft already under construction. As such, it seems odd that Qatar thinks they could begin operating the aircraft first.
Do you think Qatar will be the first airline to operate fly the Boeing 777X? Let us know in the comments down below!