Le Bourget, PARIS AIR SHOW – Qatar Airways has continued its strong commitment towards maintaining an aggressive expansion strategy by today signing a firm contract for 24 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.
The agreement includes twenty A320s, as well as the firming up of four A321 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2008.
The Doha-based carrier currently operates 19 A320 Family aircraft, and is the Middle East’s largest customer of this particular fleet. The new aircraft, configured with a two-class cabin, will be deployed to enhance and expand services on regional, European and southwest Asian services. Deliveries of the new aircraft are due to begin in November 2009, running through to the end of 2012.
Qatar Airways also confirmed its commitment to International Aero Engines to power its new Airbus aircraft order. The airline has selected IAE’s V2500 SelectOne engines with the business valued at more than US$700 million at list prices.
Speaking at a packed press conference on the opening day of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget today, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The additional Airbus A320s and A321s give Qatar Airways a firm footing in the rapid development and expansion of our regional network.
“Qatar Airways is determined to grow with the world’s best aircraft at the heart of a modern and fuel efficient fleet, and this A320 Family order will ensure that our narrow-body fleet is the youngest and best equipped in the region.
“With a larger mix of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft in our fleet, this gives us even greater flexibility in our commercial operations, allowing us to deploy aircraft on specific routes depending on market conditions.”
Added Al Baker: “We have a reputation for selecting only the best for our airline and we know from experience that the V2500 is the superior technology engine for the A320 family of aircraft.
“Our latest order demonstrates Qatar Airways’ strong commitment towards continuing its aggressive global expansion strategy. Despite the current shifting economic climate hanging over many economies around the world, Qatar Airways has foresight with long-term objectives and planning which means continuing our growth strategy with vigour.”
In addition to 19 A320 Family aircraft, Qatar Airways’ current fleet includes four A340-600s and the largest fleet of Airbus A330s in the Middle East with 29 aircraft flying in the airline’s colours.
Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said: “Qatar Airways’ partnership with Airbus dates back to the early 1990s, and we take great pride that it is stronger today than ever before. Qatar Airways already operates a modern fleet of eco-efficient Airbus aircraft and we are delighted that, with the equally efficient A320s, Airbus is forming the backbone of Qatar’s modern fleet.”
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, with a fleet comprising aircraft from the A320, A300Freighter, A330 and A340 families, including the ACJ corporate jet. Qatar Airways is also a customer for the Airbus A380, the world’s biggest aircraft, and is the largest customer for the A350 XWB with 80 planes on order.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 68 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 82 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Far East and North America.
The carrier currently has more than 200 aircraft worth over US$40 billion on order; six new routes planned over the next six months; and U$1 billion worth of infrastructure improvements at Doha International Airport.
Qatar Airways is expanding its global operations with the launch of 6 new routes – Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; Amritsar (Oct 11) and Goa (Oct 25) in India; and two further cities in Europe
Qatar Airways’ Economy Class has been voted Best in the World in the annual Skytrax passenger survey, in which more than 16 million travellers were polled. Ranked Five Star for service and excellence by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency also voted Qatar Airways’ cabin crew Best in the Middle East for the seventh year running in 2009 and Best Airline in the Middle East for the fourth consecutive year. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport is scheduled to open. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132