(Adds background on Qatar Airways, Boeing talks)
By Tim Hepher
DOHA Oct 4 Gulf carrier Qatar Airways and
Boeing will hold a news conference on Friday, a
spokeswoman for Qatar Airways told Reuters on Wednesday, as a
big sale of Boeing widebody jetliners looked close to being
Qatar Airways is in the process of firming up the order,
which was delayed by the Qatari government in an effort to speed
up U.S. approval of its purchase of Boeing fighter jets, sources
familiar with the situation told Reuters.
If the deal is finalised, it would give the Chicago-based
planemaker a substantial sales boost in a year when orders for
widebody planes has slumped.
Last Wednesday, the United States began notifying lawmakers
informally that it had approved the sales of 36 Boeing F-15
fighter jets to Qatar, valued at about $4 billion.
Last week people familiar with the situation said Qatar
Airways was in the process of firming up an order for Boeing
jets, which it was due to have placed at July's Farnborough
airshow in Britain.
The deal was delayed by the Qatari government in an effort
to speed up U.S. approval for the fighter contract, one of the
The deal postponed in July was a top-up deal for about five
Boeing 777-300ER worth $1.7 billion at list prices, people
familiar with the talks said, but the order could expand as the
Gulf airline continues to target significant growth despite
concerns over the Gulf economy.
Bloomberg last week reported the deal was for at least 30
Boeing 777 and 787 jets, valued at about $6.7 billion at list
The airline is also in talks for about two dozen Boeing 737
MAX jetliners, aviation market sources said.
Boeing and Qatar Airways declined to comment on the details
of Friday's planned announcement.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said in
August that the airline planned to make a major aircraft order
to enable its network expansion plans.
Separately, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said
the company is making progress on a deal to provide more than
100 commercial airplanes to Iran though none will be delivered
(Reporting by Tom Finn; Editing by Louise Ireland and James