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Qatar spree may not be over

Fresh from its massive Airbus order at last month's Paris air show, Qatar Airways has hinted that further fleet expansion purchases are being considered as the carrier aims to continue its rapid growth, which reached 35% last year.

The airline concluded a $5.1 billion deal for Airbus A321s, A330s and A340s at the show, and Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says that "there will be another aircraft order, Airbus or Boeing, in a reasonable timeframe", but does not disclose the types in contention.

Al Baker says Qatar will confirm its Airbus A380 deal for two firm orders, plus two options, by the end of July, and says that it could increase its commitment for the type (Flight International, 24-30 June). "We could go to two orders, plus six options," says Al Baker, adding that the deal could include freighters.

Qatar says its A380s will feature "many innovations to create a luxury-liner feel", and will only have 493 seats - at least 60 fewer than the standard Airbus configuration.

Meanwhile, Qatar is to start services to Moscow in August with its A319 Long Range, and plans to sign for a second shortly. Al-Baker says demand for the type is high due to charter opportunities in the region.

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