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Contract expired: Qatar Airways will not get a Boeing 737 Max for the time being

Airbus no longer wants to sell the Gulf airline an A321 Neo, it is ordering a Boeing 737 Max as a replacement. That’s how it looked so far. Now there is a surprising turn.

The industry had expected Qatar Airways to be the launch customer for the new Boeing 777-8 F freighter. It was more surprising that the airline from Qatar also signed a letter of intent for 25 Boeing 737 Max 10 and secured another 25 options. The deal at the end of January came after Airbus had previously canceled a contract for 50 A321 Neos with Qatar Airways in the dispute over the A350.

In mid-February, it initially looked as if Airbus would not be allowed to place the A321 Neo intended for Qatar Airways with other customers after all. In April, however, a court finally gave the manufacturer the green light to do so. The judge pointed out that Qatar Airways was able to procure alternative aircraft.

No longer valid

Qatar Airways announced in mid-June that the Boeing 737 would be operated by a subsidiary. And boss Akbar Al Baker said that the letter of intent would definitely be turned into a firm order. But nothing will come of it.

Airbus said in a court document released on Thursday (July 7), according to Reuters news agency, Qatar Airways has announced that the preliminary agreement to purchase up to 50 Boeing 737 Max jets is no longer valid.

Start of process in June 2023

Airbus had previously requested a copy of the 737 Max agreement as part of the litigation. Qatar Airways had previously raised these itself when it came to their claim for compensation for damage to the A350. However, the airline rejected the European manufacturer’s request on the grounds that the Max contract had “expired”, Airbus said in the document.

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Both Qatar Airways and Boeing did not comment when asked by Reuters. The dispute over the A350 involves damage to the surface coating of Qatar Airways jets and the question of whether the damage also affects the safety of the planes. If the parties do not agree beforehand, the process is scheduled to begin in June 2023.

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