Carrier Goes With Airbus For Narrowbodies
British Airways said its decision Wednesday to purchase four
Boeing 777-200ERs to expand its long-haul fleet, instead of going
with Airbus's A330, came down to the issue of commonality.
"It was a very close decision between the Boeing 777s and Airbus
A330s," said British Airways Commercial Director Robert Boyle to
Reuters. "However, the ease of assimilating up to eight aircraft
into our existing 777 fleet, rather than having a small number of
A330s, swung the balance in Boeing's favor."
British Airways already has 43 Triple-7s in its fleet, Boyle
added. "That was the tipping factor."
The four 777s will enter service with British Airways in early
2009. The airline also has options on four more of the long-legged
planes, which if taken would be delivered in 2010.
"Boeing is delighted to be part of British Airway's first step
in expanding its long-haul fleet," the company stated. British
Airways is slated to replace 20 of its older 747s, and 14 767s in
the coming years.
In related news, British Airways also placed a firm order
Wednesday for four more Airbus A320 narrowbodies. The new order
brings the total number of Airbus aircraft in operation in the
British Airways fleet to 66, with 14 on firm order.
The aircraft will have 156 seats in a two-class configuration
and will be powered by International Aero Engines V2527-A5. British
Airways was among the first operators of the A320 when it entered
service in 1988.
"Our Airbus A320 fleet serves us well on our shorthaul network
from Heathrow so we are pleased to replace aircraft leaving our
fleet with new A320s," said Boyle.
Boyle added the next big order for widebody planes would come in
the second half of 2007. He added by that time, commonality will be
less of an issue... perhaps indicating the carrier is looking
between Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, and Airbus' upcoming
"The competition is still wide open," Boyle said.