Qatar Airways has announced that it is ready to acquire a wide-body freighter from Airbus or Boeing within a month or two when the new models became available.
The Gulf carrier could place a “large customer order” for an A350 freighter planned by European manufacturer Airbus or a new 777F from its US rival before the end of the third quarter, CEO Mr. Akbar Al Baker told in the FlightPlan III webinar.
Mr. Al Baker has lobbied aircraft manufacturers before, but neither has committed to making a cargo ship version of a passenger jumbo jet. His urgency emphasized how critical the increase in freight demand has become for airlines, whose long-haul passenger market is still affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Last year, Qatar Airways added new destinations and switched some planes to freight-only operations. “We’ve established our status as the world’s largest freight carrier,” Mr. Al Baker said.
“We are very excited about the model and that once Boeing launched a cargo version, we’ll bring them to Airbus and give opportunity with cargo. Qatar Airways is really hungry for more freighters but cannot get the current 777F, which is based on Boeing’s existing 777 models, until 2023.”
According to reports, Airbus is close to taking orders for the A350F, assuming that it can achieve its commitments.
Qatar Airways said that the Airbus order will need resolving concerns with the passenger version of the jet. It also stated that the paint on some A350s is deteriorating at a faster rate than it should and that the problem must be solved before future deliveries can be made.
The Doha-based company ranked second after FedEx Corp in terms of freight ton-kilometers in 2019, putting it ahead of United Parcel Service Inc. and traditional cargo heavyweights Korean Air Lines Co., Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., and Deutsche Lufthansa AG. as local rival Emirates.
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