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Boeing Deal With Qatar Airways a Knock to Airbus

Boeing Deal With Qatar Airways a Knock to Airbus
Jackie Reddy

The transaction between the Doha-based carrier and the Chicago aircraft manufacturer comes after the airline’s chief executive expressed his ire with Airbus over delays and reliability issues.

In an agreement heralded as one of the biggest commercial aviation deals of the year, Boeing has secured an $18.6 billion contract with Qatar Airways. While the transaction will see the Doha-based carrier acquire 60 of the company’s new 737 Max planes, it’s a tough blow to rival manufacturer Airbus, who saw their recent delivery of A320neos rejected by Qatar over engine issues.

In addition to acquiring a host of its newly upgraded 737 Max jetliners, the carrier will also be taking on a number of Boeing’s 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft. All things considered, this deal could see Qatar acquire around 100 Boeing aircraft to its fleet.

This substantial order is a boost to Boeing, which has seen its sales falter in the face of slowing economic growth in Asia and Europe. A slump in the commodities market in Brazil and Russia has also impacted profits.

But despite its latest deal with Boeing, Qatar says it will still be honoring a 2011 order with Airbus, an agreement that will see the carrier acquire 50 A320neo and A321neo aircraft.

Qatar chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that, “We never renege on contracts that we sign. The aircraft that we are ordering today will serve this ever-expanding network.”

But he also criticized the manufacturer over the glitches that Qatar previously experienced with the geared turbofan engines of these two aircraft types. Al Baker said that these issues left him with “no alternative” but to order more “reliable” Boeing jetliners.

Numerous issues with Airbus delivery deadlines and engine cooling problems have also drawn criticism from Qatar.

Boeing’s current sales, said CEO Dennis Muilenburg last month, will determine whether or not the carrier increases its output.

[Photo: Boeing]

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