Boeing wins Qatar freighter deal of its 777X passenger jet

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Boeing Co is set to sign a launch order from Qatar Airways for a new freighter version of its 777X passenger jet on Monday, in a Washington ceremony coinciding with a visit by the Gulf state's ruling emir, US officials said.

Reuters reported last week that the US planemaker was in advanced negotiations with the Gulf carrier for around 34 of the planned twin-engined freighters in a deal provisionally estimated to be worth $14 billion at list prices.

The White House said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, representatives from the government of Qatar, Boeing, GE Aviation, and Qatar Airways will participate in a signing ceremony at 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT) in the White House complex. Reuters reported the planned event earlier.

President Joe Biden will not attend the event.

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Qatar Airways has publicly said it is interested in buying up to 50 new-generation freighters, with the higher figure expected to include options that could lead to top-up purchases in the future.

It may also bridge to the new cargo version of the upgraded 777X with a handful of extra current-generation 777 freighters.

Boeing and Qatar Airways declined to comment.

The deal represents the first order for a freighter version of the world's largest twin-engined passenger plane, whose entry to service has been pushed back by more than three years to late 2023 or beyond.

It comes as Qatar Airways is locked in a bitter dispute with Boeing's European rival Airbus over surface flaws on competing A350 passenger jets.

The airline had dropped a new freighter version of the A350 from its cargo fleet renewal plans, citing the rift over the flaws to paint and lightning protection.

For Boeing, the deal marks a respite from the ongoing impact of a safety crisis over the 737 MAX and delays with the 777X passenger version and 787 Dreamliner production problems.

The amount of additional future revenue for Boeing from the deal would depend on discounts and how many of the freighters are converted from previous orders for 777X passenger versions. Airplanes typically sell for about half the list price.

Qatar is the second-largest customer for the world's largest twin-engined jetliner with a total of 60 of the 406-seat 777X passenger version on order.

Industry sources estimate that could fall by around a third in the wake of design delays and a drop in near-term demand for long-haul passenger jets, suggesting the number of new airframes resulting from the freighter order could be closer to 15.

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