Qatar Airways could revive order for 25 737 MAX airplanes -sources

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FILE PHOTO: The Qatar Airways logo is pictured at the International Tourism Trade Fair ITB in Berlin

By Tim Hepher and David Shepardson

FARNBOROUGH, England -Qatar Airways could revive an order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes at the Farnborough Airshow, sources told Reuters.

On Monday, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed that a provisional deal to buy at least 25 of the Boeing planes had lapsed.

Boeing and Qatar Airways declined to comment Wednesday but two sources said the order could be confirmed.

Al Baker told reporters that the memorandum of understanding for 25 and options for 25 more had expired, confirming a move that emerged in a court dispute with Airbus earlier this month.

In January, Qatar Airways announced the provisional order for the 25 737 MAX 10 planes and 25 options at the White House as it and Boeing announced a record launch order for 34 new 777X freighters.

To win the freighter order, Boeing agreed to convert a third of Qatar’s existing order for 60 777X passenger planes to the cargo version.

Qatar Airways had criticised the MAX and urged Boeing to design an all-new jet after two fatal crashes led to a 20-month grounding that was lifted in late 2020.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said Tuesday the MAX has been “rebooted”, noting more than 1,000 orders since the grounding, including a Delta Air Lines order for 100 MAX 10 models on Monday.

“I think you can check the reboot box and now we’re just into the normal Boeing versus Airbus, continuing to compete hard for each customer’s business,” Deal said.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; writing by David Shepardson; editing by Jason Neely)

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