Qatar confirms A350 deal

Qatar Airways has signed a letter of intent to buy 60 A350s, firming up the US $10.6 billion order it announced at the Paris air show in June. The carrier has also selected GE’s GEnx engine to power its fleet in a deal worth more than US $1.6 billion.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  October 1, 2005

Qatar Airways has signed a letter of intent to buy 60 A350s, firming up the US $10.6 billion order it announced at the Paris air show in June. The carrier has also selected GE’s GEnx engine to power its fleet in a deal worth more than US $1.6 billion. The A350 letter of intent was signed when French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, met Qatar’s First Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thanion last month. It should be turned into a full order once the EADS board gives the go-ahead for the formal launch of the aircraft, which was expected to happen late last month. “When the EADS board decided to postpone until the end of September, give or take a few days, the launch of the A350, it was not linked to uncertainties over the commercial viability of the project,” EADS co-chairman, Noel Forgeard told reporters at the deal signing ceremony. “We had what we needed; the planned purchase by Qatar Airways was already known... [The postponement] was linked to a study that the board asked us for and the resources needed to carry out this major development, and so this study is being finished. Everything should happen by the deadlines that have been set,” he added. Qatar Airways’ intention to order A350s was announced at Paris alongside a proposed order for 20 Boeing 777s. This second deal is yet to be finalised. The airline has, however, signed a memorandum of understanding with GE after selecting GEnx engines for its A350s rather than the Trent 700s derivative that Rolls-Royce is working on. “We have been very pleased with the reliability and performance of the CF6 engines powering our A330-200 and A330-300 fleet,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. “Based on these successes, we are pleased to expand our business arrangement with GE.”

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