Gulf carrier Qatar Airways ordered 40 Boeing Co widebody jets valued at $11.7 billion and signed a letter of intent for up to 60 narrowbody 737 MAX 8 jets worth $6.9 billion, Boeing and the airline have said.

The agreement for up to 100 jetliners potentially worth $18.6 billion helps fill out Boeing’s order book in a year when sales have slowed sharply, and amid tough price competition with European rival Airbus.

The deal marked a key commitment by Qatar Airways to Boeing’s new 737 MAX jetliner, after it refused to accept three of Airbus’ competing A320 aircraft earlier this year. Qatar has not ordered 737s previously.

Airline CEO Akbar Al Baker took the opportunity of the announcement in Washington to further press Boeing to build a new jet slightly larger than the 737 to fill a gap in Boeing’s product line. More info

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