With CEO Akbar Al Baker telling U.K.-based Sky News that Qatar Airways will not be taking delivery of any new aircraft in 2020 or 2021, the airline’s cargo fleet will remain static at the end of the year for the first time since 2013, when it withdrew its A300-600Fs from service.
All the aircraft on order that were scheduled to be delivered in the next two to three years have been deferred by as long as eight to ten years, according to Al Baker.
The carrier’s total backlog stands at 165 aircraft, as of the end of May, with eighty-eight from Boeing —five 777Fs, sixty 777Xs, and twenty-three 787-9s — along with twenty-seven A350-1000s and fifty A321neos from Airbus.
The carrier’s cargo division declined to comment on its plans for the 777Fs.
Qatar Airways signed a commitment for the five 777Fs at last year’s Paris Air Show and finalized that order a month later, as part of a visit to the White House. These aircraft were supposed to begin being delivered to the airline later this year.
The Doha-based carrier, which has grown its freighter fleet yearly for the past six years, received its twenty-first 777F at the end of 2019. The aircraft (66339) was the sixth 777F added to the fleet in 2019.
New 777F deliveries would have been used to progressively replace five A330-200Fs. Qatar has already removed three A330-200Fs so far, having returned them off lease last year. The five currently remaining are owned but were expected to gradually be phased out to consolidate the fleet.
Given the moratorium on new aircraft deliveries, Cargo Facts wouldn’t be surprised to see Qatar Airways continuing to operate its A330-200Fs beyond 2020.