WASHINGTON—Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker minced no words in explaining why his Middle Eastern airline was buying a “historic” $18.6 billion worth of aircraft from Boeing: The U.S. airframer is great at making commercial aircraft; Europe’s Airbus, not so much. “Boeing has been making airplanes decades before anyone else even thought of manufacturing airplanes, so the experience that they have in this field has made them so robust that they make one of ...

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