Qatar Airways Orders 24 Airbus A320-Family Jets

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Qatar Airways has signed an order for 24 A320-family aircraft from Airbus worth about USD$1.9 billion at list prices, doubling its medium-haul fleet as it prepares to fend off low-cost competition.

The contract includes four orders for A321 planes announced last year and 20 new orders for A320 aircraft, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said at the Paris Air Show on Monday.

Deliveries will begin at the end of this year and will be completed by 2012, Al Baker said.

Qatar already operates 19 aircraft from the Airbus A320 family of single-aisle planes, which includes the A321.

Qatar last year unveiled a deal to buy up to six Airbus A321 planes and said it was ready to set up a budget airline to counter any attack by a rival airline in its home market.

"We are not planning a low-cost carrier, but if our market share is eroded by regional low-cost carriers, we will join the fashion show and launch one," he said, adding the company could have a budget carrier ready for operations within six months.

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