Qatar Airways adds to Gulf's plane orders at Farnborough

FARNBOROUGH, England - Gulf nations savoring the fruits of rocketing energy prices boosted orders for new fuel-efficient passenger planes at the Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 15 Jul 2008, 7:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:49 PM

Qatar Airways announced at a press conference that it intended to purchase four single-aisle Airbus passenger jets worth a total of 361 million dollars (226 million euros).

The company, on the second day of the Farnborough show outside London, added that it had taken the option of buying a further two A321 planes, bringing the total order up to a possible six.

"Concluding this deal with Airbus ... will further assist Qatar Airways in the rapid development of its regional network," the airline's chief executive Akbar al Baker said.

He added that the intended purchase of fuel-efficient Airbus planes continued to support the airline's growth "at a time when the airline industry as a whole is struggling with the impact of prevailing high fuel prices."

Energy-exporting Gulf states are snapping up new aircraft thanks to extra revenue earned from surging crude prices, which struck historic peaks above 147 dollars a barrel on financial markets last Friday.

Soaring fuel costs, along with the credit crunch, are meanwhile encouraging airlines worldwide to invest in more energy-efficient planes and causing others to collapse.

Etihad Airways had grabbed the attention on the opening day of this year's Farnborough show, announcing deals on Monday for 100 fuel-efficient Airbus and Boeing passenger planes worth 20.4 billion dollars.

The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates unveiled its purchases at one of the biggest events in the commercial aviation industry's calendar.

Also on Monday, US planemaker Boeing revealed that Etihad was the airline behind a deal recently signed for 45 of its mid-sized passenger jets, including 35 fuel-efficient Dreamliners, worth 9.4 billion dollars.

FlyDubai, a new low-cost airline, signed a deal for 54 single-aisle Boeing 737 passenger jets worth 4.0 billion dollars and Saudi Arabian Airlines agreed to buy eight wide-bodied Airbus A330s worth 1.6 billion dollars.

Airbus sales chief John Leahy had told reporters on Monday that the European planemaker hoped to secure at least 200 new firm orders at Farnborough.

The biennial airshow is a traditional battle ground between Airbus, owned by European aerospace group EADS, and Boeing for securing new deals.

This year's Farnborough event, taking place 60 years since the first show, was attracting the usual mix of industry executives and plane enthusiasts for deal-making and the witnessing of flypasts by civil and military jets.

Canadian planemaker Bombardier announced Sunday that it planned to launch its eco-friendly CSeries single-aisle passenger jet in 2013 -- a plane it promised would "deliver dramatic energy savings."

German airline Lufthansa said it was interested in buying 30 CSeries jets in the role of launch-customer, adding it could increase the order to 60 which would earn Bombardier a total of 2.8 billion dollars.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Boeing told the Farnborough show that it remained on target to deliver its first fuel-efficient Dreamliner passenger plane in the third quarter of 2009 after being beset by delays.

Airbus intends to launch the extra-wide-bodied A350 in 2013 as a rival to the Dreamliner 787.

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