British Airways (BA) has committed to purchasing 42 Boeing 777-9s, with the carrier signing a firm deal for 18 aircraft, plus options for a further 24. The February 28 contract, valued at up to $18.6bn, is part of the airline’s wider fleet modernisation programme.
The International Airlines Group (IAG) carrier has recently retired its 767-300ERs and has reduced its 747-400 fleet from 57 to 34. Meanwhile, it has been receiving 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ERs, with the first of 18 Airbus A350-1000s scheduled for delivery in July.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “[The 777-9] is the ideal replacement for the 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network. This aircraft will provide further efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30% compared to the four-engined 747.”
The airline has a long relationship with the 777, having received its first example on November 11, 1995, and today has one of the world’s largest fleets of the type, with 58 jets in service. Last year it signed for four additional 777-300ERs via operating leases.
The carrier has become the eighth customer to select the improved widebody twin, following Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airlines. Currently, orders total 358 with the first flight test aircraft due to be rolled out on March 13.