Qatar Airways today signed a Letter of Intent with Boeing to purchase five 777 Freighters.
Assuming the order is finalized, Qatar Airways may become the operator of the world’s largest jet freighter fleet outside the big express companies. The carrier currently operates two 747-8Fs, thirteen 777Fs, and eight A330-200Fs. It also has three more 777Fs already on order (rising to eight on order when the LOI is finalized).
If Qatar kept all of its current freighters and took delivery of eight more 777Fs, its fleet would expand to thirty-one units, considerably more than Korean Air’s twenty-six freighters. However, before all of the 777Fs are delivered, Cargo Facts expects that both Qatar and Korean will probably cut a few freighters from their fleets – in Korean’s case, this would likely be the retirement of some or all of its three remaining 747-400Fs, while Qatar might choose not to renew the leases on three A330-200Fs (it owns the other five).
In any case, Qatar Airways has gone from being a relatively minor player in the air freight game a decade ago, to one of the busiest cargo carriers in the world today.