Qatar Airways wants to be a launch customer for a new Airbus or Boeing freighter, the Gulf carrier’s chief executive said on Tuesday as it considers a multi-billion dollar cargo jet order.
Both planemakers are reportedly considering producing a new freighter, although neither has so far committed to it publicly.
Reuters reported in March that Airbus was gauging interest in a freighter version of its A350 jetliner and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker told Reuters on June 4 that Boeing was offering a freighter version of its future 777X passenger jet.
But Boeing said its board was yet to approve such a program.
“We are very keen to be a launch customer be it for the A350F or the 777X freighters,” al-Baker said during a forum organized by Bloomberg on Tuesday.
The major Airbus and Boeing customer has publicly expressed interest in a new cargo jet since at least April and is interested in a large order, potentially for 30 or more new freighters. Its current cargo fleet is 30 Boeing freighters.
Speaking on a panel alongside Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, al-Baker also said the airline was “hungry” for more but that the US planemaker could not produce them fast enough.
Calhoun did not address these remarks.
Qatar Airways is in a contractual dispute with Airbus over a quality issue regarding some of its passenger jets.