Coming as the group announces a rise in profits, the multi-billion-dollar deal will replace British Airways’ ageing 747 fleet.
At the same time as posting healthy financial results, International Airlines Group has ordered 18 new long-range aircraft for its main carrier British Airways.
The wide-body Boeing 777-9 aircraft, the order for which comes as a blow to Airbus, will replace BA’s 14 Boeing 747-400s and four Boeing 777-200s.
Each will be fitted with 325 seats and feature four cabins, with delivery to take place between 2022 and 2025. The order has an option for up to 24 additional planes.
Each 777-9 has a list price of around $442 million, which puts the total order at $8 billion, but IAG said it had negotiated a “substantial discount” on the list price.
The new aircraft will be powered by General Electric GE9X engines.
“The new B777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient long-haul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways’ fleet,” Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said.
“It’s the ideal replacement for the Boeing 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network.”
He added: “This aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30% compared with the Boeing 747. It also provides an enhanced passenger experience.”
Blow for Airbus
IAG has reported annual profits that beat analysts’ estimates, the Bloomberg news agency reports. Adjusted operating profit was up 9.5% to €3.23 billion, ahead of analysts’ €3.15 billion average estimate. However, earnings for this year are forecast to be flat.
The aircraft order is a setback for Airbus, which had been competing for a deal. It had pitched the A350-1000, which BA has already bought previously.