Not three months ago Qatar’s CEO, the mercurial and often verbally absolute Al Baker, told a bunch of journalists that Qatar wasn’t even slightly interested in Boeing’s NMA project dubbed 797-X.
Yesterday he totally back-tracked and decided he wants the airline to be the launch customer.
“What Boeing have shown me is marvellous”, he said.
Boeing were expected to show the 777-9 at the upcoming Paris Show but that’s almost certainly not happening for technical reasons – however there’s still the possibility the 797-X will be launched there. It depends on how Boeing reads the general sentiment at the time.
737Max is still weight that hasn’t been lifted and gloating over a new aircraft might look a little insensitive to a wider audience.
A softer more private launch may be in the cards if they feel it’s got to happen to build sufficient interest.
The Paris Show is likely to be a subdued affair order wise. Yes airlines will make orders but many will have been on MOU’s signed months ago.
One to look out for is Emirates sticking with its 787-10 order and committing to it fully after months of dithering.