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Large Qatar Airways widebody order looms, to be split between Airbus and Boeing  

As the biannual Farnborough Airshow 2024 begins to loom large on global aviation’s horizon, news is starting to leak out about what we might expect in terms of headline announcements. One of the milestone orders widely expected to be placed early on at the event is Qatar Airways revealing full details of its long-awaited order for new widebody aircraft set to bolster its long-haul fleet in the coming years. 

As reported by Bloomberg back in March 2024, the Doha-based carrier was said to be looking to place orders for around 100-150 long-range jets in 2024. However, it now appears that these earlier requirements are to be revised upwards, with both Airbus and Boeing being the beneficiaries in any deal to be unveiled at Farnborough. 

According to a report published by Bloomberg on June 3, 2024, sources said to be close to the negotiations have told the media outlet that the Middle Eastern airline is now considering an order for approximately 200 aircraft, which will feature a mix of both Airbus A350s and the yet uncertified Boeing 777X series. A decision could come as early as the Farnborough Airshow in the UK being held between July 22 and 26, 2024, said the sources.

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Should the Qatari airline opt to split the order as suggested, then it would mark a remarkable turnaround in the relationship between the carrier and Airbus who in 2023 ended a year-long litigation over quality issues concerning A350 deliveries being made to the airline which were frozen as a result, although they have since resumed.  

It would also be seen as a much-needed endorsement of a beleaguered Boeing that has been the subject of several adverse high-profile news-grabbing headlines since the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 door blowout in January 2024.      

“I understand that Airbus and Boeing are facing certain challenges” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer. “However, we have complete confidence in both companies, and we believe they are resilient enough to overcome these challenges.”  He added that he was “110% confident” in Boeing’s commitment to safety. 

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Qatar Airways needs the new aircraft to replace older jets in its fleet while boosting overall long-haul capacity to meet the increasing demand for international travel. The new aircraft will continue to enhance the passenger onboard experience while ensuring that the most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft make up the backbone of its widebody fleet.  

Neither Boeing nor Airbus have responded to inquiries made about any imminent Qatar Airways widebody order, either at Farnborough 2024 or otherwise.   

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