Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum with Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai: Qatar’s national carrier Qatar Airways signed a letter of intent on Sunday to order 50 Boeing 777-9X at a cost of $19 billion (Dh69.8 billion).

Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said the order showed “confidence” in Boeing, adding that the 777 is a flagship aircraft, at a press conference held at the Dubai Airshow, a major biennial aerospace event in the region.

Qatar Airways also announced on Sunday an order of five Airbus A330-200 Freighter aircraft, and eight options, with a total list value of $2.8 billion. The first delivery of the aircraft will be in 2014.

“It will be two next year and three soon after that,” Al Baker said. “This new cargo aircraft …will eventually be the backbone of Qatar Airways’ freighter fleet,” Al Baker added.

The new order is aimed at replacing old mid-sized freighters.

“Al Baker is very focused on ensuring that Qatar has the most efficient fleet to support the airline’s growth strategy,” John Strickland, director of UK-based aviation advisory JLS Consultancy, said in an emailed statement.

Qatar Airways has 80 Airbus A350s and A320 Neos on order, as well as 13 Airbus A380-800s and one Airbus A320.

“With this new order, we will further cement our relationship with Airbus,” he said.

The carrier has more than 40 freighter routes, including Sharjah, Frankfurt Hahn, Amsterdam, Liege, Atlanta, Luxembourg and Sialkot.

Qatar Airways flies to 133 destinations worldwide.