Qatar Airways recently took delivery of the first of three A330-200Fs on lease from BOC Aviation, with the second two to follow over the next few weeks. It is also scheduled to take delivery of its fifth (of eight) 777F this summer, but Mr. al-Baker said: “We are looking at bringing in a further three Airbus A330s by the year-end.”
He did not offer any indication of the source of the additional three A330 freighters, but given the short lead time (i.e. delivery this year) it seems likely that they would be leased, rather than purchased directly from Airbus, although the latter is not impossible.
Four lessors have placed orders with Airbus for A330-200Fs.
- Aircastle ordered three, has taken delivery of all of them, and leased them to Hong Kong Airlines (controlled by China’s HNA Group).
- BOC Aviation ordered five and has taken delivery of three. Of these, one is leased to Hong Kong Airlines, one is leased to Yangtze River Express (another HNA subsidiary), and one is leased to Qatar. The remaining two will be delivered shortly and have also been leased to Qatar.
- Intrepid Aviation ordered twenty A330-200Fs, but has swapped eleven of those orders for passenger A330-200s/-300s. It has nine left on order, but has made no announcements regarding possible lessees.
- OH Avion ordered eight units, but has not announced when it will begin taking deliveries nor any agreements with lessees.
So, if Qatar does lease these new freighters, Intrepid and OH Avion are the obvious candidates. However, as we pointed out above, it is possible that the carrier could order three units directly from Airbus and have them delivered this year. Another option would be to acquire slots from someone – either carrier or lessor – with existing orders.