Etihad Airways is to become the largest operator of the new generation Boeing 787 Dreamliner with an expanded multi-billion dollar order.
The United Arab Emirates carrier is acquiring 10 more of the fuel efficient twinjets, which burn 20% less fuel than other similar sized aircraft, together with two B777 freighters in a deal worth $2.8 billion.
The extra order means that Etihad will take delivery of 41 Dreamliners between late 2014 and 2019. The airline also has options and purchase rights on 25 more 787s.
The B787-9 will carry up to 300 passengers and have a range of 8,000 nautical miles, and will be initially used on routes to destinations including Dublin, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Nagoya, Delhi and Istanbul.
The twin engine, carbon composite 787 made its first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong for all Nippon Airways in October after more than two years of production delays.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan said: “Our decision to expand our Dreamliner fleet is testimony to Etihad’s commitment to operating one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the skies.
“It also reflects our confidence in the 787’s ability to have a significant impact on our operating efficiencies and the passenger experience we can offer onboard this revolutionary aircraft.
“Both the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter offer highly attractive operating economics and will facilitate our global expansion plans by allowing us to transport passengers and cargo into new markets from our hub in Abu Dhabi.”
The airline announced what was then the largest aircraft order in commercial aviation history at the 2008 Farnborough International Air Show for up to 205 aircraft – 100 firm orders, 55 options and 50 purchase rights.
“We continually review our operating environment and look to leverage off the great flexibility which we built in to our 2008 fleet order,” said Hogan. "We saw an opportunity to add further certainty to our growth profile in the mid to late part of the decade.”
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