Qatar Airways has taken delivery of its first of 14 Boeing 777-300ERs, which will eventually replace its Airbus A340-600s on long-haul services from its Doha base.

The airline will initially operate the 335-seat -300ERs on regional services until the second aircraft arrives. It will then deploy the 777s on its Washington DC route in mid-January, says the airline's chief executive Akbar Al Baker.

 © Qatar Airways

Qatar also has six 777-200LRs on order for delivery from next year, as well as seven 777Fs and its fleet expansion and renewal programme envisages the retirement and replacement of its existing Airbus A330/A340 fleet as the aircraft reach five or six years of age.

"These aircraft will be transferred to the leasing company being set up called Oryx Leasing, and placed with other carriers," says Al Baker.

 © Qatar Airways

The 777s offer greater capacity and speed than the airline's A340-600s, says Al Baker. He says that he will not be adding to four A340-600s that the airline has introduced over the last year and that the 777s will replace them. "I expect the A340s will be some of the first aircraft we will lease out," he says.

The 777s are equipped with a two-class, 42/293 business/economy layout, unlike the similarly sized A340-600s, which accommodate 266 in a first/business/economy configuration, but feature an eight-seat on-board lounge.