Qatar Airways plans to place an order for more aircraft at the upcoming Dubai air show, CEO Akbar Al Baker said yesterday during a ceremony in Doha to celebrate the airline’s formal membership in Oneworld.
Al Baker, however, declined to identify the aircraft types that the airline is evaluating. When asked about the proposed Boeing 777X, Al Baker stated that “we have to wait until the time is right.”
Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline—the two other big Persian Gulf-based airlines—are expected to place large orders for the 777X, which combined will likely exceed 100 aircraft, but Qatar Airways so far has kept quiet about its plans for additional fleet investment.
While the airline has a large outstanding order for the Airbus A350—a total of 80 A350-900s and -1000s—and 22 more Boeing 787-8s are scheduled to join its fleet, it has taken all but five of its 27 777-300ERs on firm order.
Qatar will receive its first A350-900 in the second half of next year and also the first of 10 Airbus A380s currently on firm order.
The airline, on average, currently takes delivery of a new aircraft every 15 days and has a backlog of 175 aircraft, according to Airbus and Boeing statistics, not counting any additional orders to be placed in Dubai.
Qatar is the first of the three Persian Gulf carriers to join one of the three major alliance groups. Etihad is building what it calls an “equity alliance”—a group of airlines tied to it through minority shareholdings—while Emirates continues to build its own network and focuses on high-profile bilateral tie-ups such as its deal with Qantas.