If the leaks are well founded Lufthansa will tonight (11 am Frankfurt time) order the forthcoming new technology version of the Boeing 777 plus some Airbus A350s, but will Boeing lose a very important 787 order by Qatar Airways?
The CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, is well known for tearing strips off both Airbus and Boeing for failing to meet his expectations, delivering criticisms both airliner makers take on their chins (or ears) given his influence over massive orders for their products by his fast growing Middle East airline.
What Lufthansa announces when it reveals the winner, or winners, of its 50 wide body jet order tonight, and what Qatar says very candidly about the performance, or lack thereof, of various airliners will be relevant to Australia’s flag carriers.
If Lufthansa does order the 777-9 it will leave Qantas the only significant international carrier not to have ever deployed any model of the highly successful Boeing big twin engined airliner.
But what Al Bakar has to say about the 787-8 in this interview in Flightglobal cannot fail to be of concern to Qantas, in that it is exposed to the problems of that model, which is in its second year of service, and no where near what was promised by Boeing in terms of being a useful and reliable airliner, through the introduction of this version of the Dreamliner into service with its Jetstar subsidiary later this year.
The airline world continues to ask exactly what it was that caused such a kerfuffle earlier this year when a Qatar Airways 787 was pulled from service for a week without explanation after multiply sourced reports of a serious issue at its Doha hub airport in Qatar.
The Boeing 777-X family, designated ‘X’ because it has not yet been formally launched, is a major upgrade to the range, including increased payload/range capabilities and claimed cost reductions, which will become available, depending on who you believe, from late 2017 to maybe late 2021.
(Emirates, which initially demanded that the 777-X be available to it from late 2017 has said it may not be delivered until a 2020-2021 time frame.)