Qatar Airways orders Boeing aircraft worth $18 bn

Qatar Airways announced Friday, an aircraft deal with Boeing that would be worth over $18 billion at list prices, among the largest orders in the airline's history.

It has committed to acquire 30 of the 787-9 "Dreamliner" and 10 of the 777-300ER, totally worth $11.7 billion at list prices.

Additionally, the carrier signed a letter of intent for 60 narrow-body 737-8MAX aircraft valued at $6.9 billion at list prices, though airlines typically negotiate significant discounts in such deals.

''Our existing fleet of Boeing wide-body aircraft already fly the majority of our long-haul routes and make up nearly half of our current fleet of over 190 aircraft,'' Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Air's CEO, said Friday at a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. ''We are also happy to announce our first order of Boeing narrow-body jets.''

According to Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the deal would support 104,000 American jobs.

''This is a huge boost for the 777 program, as it is to the 737 program,'' Conner said. ''We'll have to wait and see how the rest of our order stream plays out. But I can tell you that 10 777s is a big deal and where these airplanes fall in our delivery stream is extremely important to us in terms of how we maintain or what we do with our production rates.''

Commentators say the order is likely to further intensify concerns among US airlines about what they termed unfair subsidies that Gulf carriers receive.

Earlier on Friday, Delta Air Lines chief executive officer Ed Bastian said Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates airline had received $50 billion in illegal subsidies, financing that allowed the carriers to offer some 30 flights a day to the US at fares much below what US airlines could offer.