DOHA: Qatar Airways has ordered four more B777 freighters with an option for an additional four at a total book price of US$2.46 billion.
The news follows the arrival of a fourth Qatar Cargo A330 freighter at the end of last year adding to a fleet of seven B777 freighters and 37 passenger versions of the aircraft already in operation.
"We aim to make Qatar Airways one of the world's major air cargo players," said Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. Boeing is forecasting a 4.7 annual growth rate in air cargo over the next 20 years.
In a related move, the aircraft manufacturer reports orders for 1,432 aircraft with a book value of $232.7 billion last year, breaking its previous all-time record set in 2007. The company says its unfilled order book now stands at 5,789 – also a new company high point.
Of the order total last year, the Next-Generation B737 and B737 MAX led the way with 1,104, followed by the B777 and B777X with 283 orders. Boeing delivered 99 B777 aircraft in 2014 along with 114 Dreamliners - including the first B787-9 to launch customer Air New Zealand.
"In the face of fierce competition, we had a strong year," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner. "In 2015 we'll ... prepare for key milestones on our development programs, including the start of assembly of the first 737 MAX and firm configuration for the 777X," he added.
Qatar Airways has also announced it will begin daily Dreamliner services between Doha and Amsterdam on June 16. Al Baker commented: "Amsterdam has long been on our list of destinations to introduce to our network, and we are delighted to now be adding this dynamic European city to our route map."