WASHINGTON — With Qatar's announcement Monday that it will buy four of Boeing's remaining C-17s, only one Globemaster remains unclaimed as the company ends production on the transport plane.
The four new C-17s will double Qatar's existing fleet. The country became the first Middle Eastern customer for the C-17 when it purchased two in 2009, then another two in 2012.
Financial details were not disclosed with the news, which was announced in a press release to coincide with this week's Paris Air Show.
"We are very pleased with the C-17s from Boeing and look forward to doubling our fleet to enhance worldwide operations," Gen. Ahmed Al-Malki, deputy commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force and chairman of The Airlift Committee, said in the release.
In September 2013, Boeing announced its plan to shut down the C-17 line for good by 2015. However, the company produced 10 "white tail" aircraft — planes that were unclaimed at the time, of which but Boeing said it was confident it could find customersfor them.
Since then, Canada has claimed one while Australia has claimed two. There is an unnamed Middle Eastern customer, speculated to be Kuwait, which has also procured two. Combined with the four sales to Qatar, that means only one C-17 is left.
Just where that one will go remains unknown, but there has been reported interest from India, which has received all ten of its ordered planes. The UK also reportedly has shown interest in adding to its fleet in the past. New Zealand, which is seeking to replace its aging Hercules transport fleet, has been suggested as an option, but the fact that only one C-17 remains makes such a move unlikely.
6/17/15: this story has been corrected to note that India has received all ten of its C-17s.