Qatar Airways has firmed up its order for Boeing 737 Max aircraft and is close to finalising a deal for CFM International Leap-1A-powered Airbus A321neos.
The airline's chief executive Akbar Al Baker disclosed at the Paris air show today that he had finalised an agreement for 20 737 Max 8s first announced last October, along with 40 options and purchase rights. Boeing has not yet formally announced the deal as firm.
"We will take three or four from June next year. The first Maxes will be delivered in small numbers and will replace older A320s that are going out of service from our mainline fleet."
The 737 deal was agreed last year amid the fallout from Qatar's dispute over its Pratt & Whitney A320neo order, which the airline has walked away from following ongoing technical issues with the PW1100G engine.
Al Baker says negotiations over the restructuring of the order continue. "I think we will conclude soon."
He is close to finalising the acquisition of "a very limited number of" A321neos, powered by the rival Leap-1A engine. "We will get the A321neos from the third quarter of next year," says Al Baker. "We still have some loose ends to finalise with Airbus before we sign with Airbus for the Leap [version]."
Meanwhile, Al Baker says he now expects Qatar's first A350-1000 to be delivered in December this year. It had previously been due to arrive around now.
This story has been updated to correct the engine designation in the third paragraph