Qatar Airways set on launching new Airbus or Boeing cargo jet

Both planemakers are reportedly considering producing a new freighter

  
An Airbus A350-1000 aircraft of Qatar Airways is pictured after a delivery ceremony at the French headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, February 20, 2018.

An Airbus A350-1000 aircraft of Qatar Airways is pictured after a delivery ceremony at the French headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, February 20, 2018.

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

DUBAI- Qatar Airways wants to be a launch customer for a new Airbus or Boeing freighter, the Gulf carrier's chief executive said on Tuesday as it considers a multi-billion dollar cargo jet order.

Both planemakers are reportedly considering producing a new freighter, although neither has so far committed to it publicly.

Reuters reported in March that Airbus was gauging interest in a freighter version of its A350 jetliner and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Reuters on June 4 that Boeing was offering a freighter version of its future 777X passenger jet.

But Boeing said its board was yet to approve such a program. 

"We are very keen to be a launch customer be it for the A350F or the 777X freighters," Al Baker said during a forum organised by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

The major Airbus and Boeing customer has publicly expressed interest in a new cargo jet since at least April and is interested in a large order, potentially for 30 or more new freighters. Its current cargo fleet is 30 Boeing freighters.

Speaking on a panel alongside Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, Al Baker also said the airline was "hungry" for more but that the U.S. planemaker could not produce them fast enough.

Calhoun did not address these remarks.

Qatar Airways is in a contractual dispute with Airbus over a quality issue regarding some of its passenger jets. 

(Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))


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