Report: Boeing finds launch customer for 777X freighter
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Qatar Airways is slated to become the launch customer for the Boeing 777X freighter with a firm order of 15 and options for 50 aircraft, reports Bloomberg. An official announcement is set for Jan. 31, 2022, in Washington, D.C., during a meeting with Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and President Joe Biden.
The airline signed a letter of intent back in April 2018 to purchase five 777 Freighters, valued at $1.7 billion.
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This is a welcome victory for Boeing since the oft-delayed delivery of the largest twin-engine aircraft ever to fly was originally slated for 2020, but production issues and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back to late 2023.
This new order shows that the freighter market remains strong even as Boeing and Airbus continue to struggle to make large jet sales in the commercial side of the market.
Airbus unveiled the A350F, a freighter version of the A350-1000, in 2021 to challenge Boeing in the growing cargo-jet segment of the market. Singapore Airlines signed a letter of intent for seven A350F freighters as the launch customer — to replace its current fleet of Boeing 747-400Fs — for delivery starting in the fourth quarter of 2025.
Boeing currently has 351 777X orders and commitments from eight airlines — All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar and Singapore. The aircraft took its first trip outside of the U.S., appearing at the Dubai Airshow in November 2021.
The 777X sports folding wingtips, which will allow the aircraft to fit into gates where the existing models of the 777 can go, despite a longer wingspan of 235 feet, 5 inches. Four prototypes of the 777X have accumulated more than 1,700 of flight testing hours, a little less than half of the approximately 3,500 flight hours the original 777 and the 787 Dreamliner underwent before receiving FAA certification.
Featured photo courtesy of Boeing.
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