British Airways parent International Airlines Group is expanding its range of long-haul aircraft options by ordering Airbus A350 aircraft.
There are 18 firm orders plus 18 options for BA which are in addition to 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliner options which IAG previously announced it plans to convert into firm orders.
The orders for a mix of A350s and 787s will be used to replace 30 Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets between 2017 and 2023. The options can be used to replace aircraft or provide opportunities for growth, IAG said.
IAG has also reached agreement with Airbus and Boeing to secure commercial terms and delivery slots that could lead to firm orders for A350s and/or Boeing 787s for Iberia.
But firm orders will only be made when the Spanish carrier is “in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base,” added IAG.
Chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet.
“Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably.
“This will not only bring greater flexibility to our network but also more choice for our customers.
“Both aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of more than 20%.
“This order will also secure jobs in Britain and Spain.
“The A350’s wings are made in Britain while its horizontal tail plane, horizontal tail plane boxes and lower wing covers are made in Spain. Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are assembled in Britain”.
The fleet order is subject to approval by IAG shareholders.
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