Qatar Airways expects to take delivery of its “first three” 777X passenger jets in 2023, Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said Tuesday.
“Boeing has already notified us that there will be a delay on the delivery of those aircraft until 2023. We will take the 777x whenever it is ready… as soon as it is ready,” al-Baker said at a webinar hosted as part of the ‘Qatar – US Business Culture Series’.
As far as the freighter 777X is concerned, al-Baker said, “We don’t know about it, they have not launched it officially. And when they notify us that they are going to launch freighter version of the 777x, we will definitely be interested to look into it.”
Qatar Airways would need to start replacing older 777 jets with more state-of-the-art fuel efficient aircraft by the time Boeing or Airbus launch any new aircraft programmes, he said.
On the performance of General Electric GE9X engines, he said, “Well, we are constantly pushing for improvement by engine manufacturers – the current engines we operate and the future engines that we will be getting is very important…because without engines airplanes are not going to fly.
“Being an airline, which keeps a close watch on emissions, we are always looking for improvements. And I would also recommend that GE get into a future technology engine sooner than later because we have all (through IATA) committed to a carbon-neutral growth by 2050.
“When we look at how long things take to develop, 2050 is not very far away. It is very easy for people to blame airlines for emissions but we depend on aircraft and engine manufacturers and fuel producers to deliver the technology to us so that we then can invest in those new technologies and fly our airplanes more efficiently and with the least effect on our environment.”
Asked whether Qatar Airways expects to be the launch customer for 777x, al-Baker said, “Let us see. I don’t know, the aircraft is still on the drawing board… I need to see the figures…I need to see the performance and most importantly, I need to see the price. I hope Boeing is hearing me.”
A Reuters’ dispatch cited Boeing and said the jet (777X) would start deliveries in 2023, three years later than initially planned with a longer and costlier certification process.
European planemaker Airbus is also gauging airline interest in a freighter version of its A350 passenger jet, which if launched would target a market key to Boeing, Reuters reported in March.
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