Qatar Is Buying More Long-Range Jets as Diplomatic Blockade Wears on

Jan 31, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Qatar Airways is amending an order for 50 Airbus A321neo jets to swap in 10 of the long-range models as a diplomatic feud in the region, a so-called “blockade,” wears on.

The blockade began in June 2017 when neighboring countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and essentially boycotted any involvement with the nation. Egypt also joined the bandwagon shortly after.

The boycott also means government-owned Qatar Airways has been barred from using any of the blockade nations’ airspace, meaning longer, more circuitous routes for the Doha-based carrier.

Enter the order for 10 A321LR aircraft.

Airbus’ A321LR planes are the larger version of its A320 narrow-body aircraft, a workhorse plane for airlines across the globe and Airbus’ best-selling jet to date. The long-range version can carry up to 206 passengers in a two-class configuration and has a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles, the longest range for a single-aisle plane. Design changes like extra fuel tanks and a higher maximum takeoff weight increase the plane’s range.

“Qatar Airways will use the A321LR to connect Doha to new growing markets where today demand is not sufficient for wide body aircraft or where current narrow bodies (A320/A321) are unable to reach,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday, noting the plane is “ideally suited to transatlantic routes.” The statement added that the new long-range jets would also be used for additional frequencies on existing routes.

The first of the A321LRs will be delivered to Qatar in 2020.

In addition to being restricted from the countries’ airspace, the airline lost about 18 destination cities to the blockade and attributed a $69 million loss in March 2018 to the diplomatic row.

Featured image by Qatar Airways.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.