Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) expects to take delivery of its first B777-9 in the second half of 2023 and is currently considering a "very attractive" offer for the still unofficial B777X freighter, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told Reuters during the Dubai Air Show.

"We are seriously looking at placing a large cargo order, a freighter order, because, as we are also growing our freight business, we need to be sustainable in that, and we are going to imminently place a large freighter order... We don't only look at the price, we look at the performance, and I think the aircraft that Boeing is developing will outperform the current fleet that we have," he said.

Boeing has yet to formally confirm it will develop the B777X freighter variant, although it is widely expected to do so after Airbus, during the Dubai Air Show, unveiled its A350 freighter with Air Lease Corporation its tentative launch customer.

The B777-9 had its international debut at the Dubai Air Show, even though the type is still far off from being certified. After multiple delays, Boeing expects that it will be able to certify the new widebody variant by July 2023.

Emirates president Tim Clark said the carrier would finalise its deliveries only once the type is certified. Emirates initially hoped to get its first B777-9 in 2020.

Boeing has so far garnered 320 firm orders for its B777X line, comprising 286 orders for the larger -9 variant and 34 for the B777-8, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. The bulk of the customers are in the Gulf region: Emirates with sixteen -8s and ninety-six -9s, Qatar Airways with ten and fifty units, respectively, and Etihad Airways with eight and seventeen, respectively.

On the way back from Dubai World Central, Boeing's testbed B777-9 N779XW (msn 64240), flew to Doha Hamad Int'l and then to Frankfurt Int'l. Lufthansa is the type's other major customer with twenty -9s on order.