International Airlines Group (IAG) is to purchase up to 42 B777-9 aircraft comprised of 18 firm orders and 24 options, replacing British Airways’ four-engine B747 ‘Jumbos’.
The new aircraft will be used to replace 14 Boeing B747-400s, as well as four B777-200s between 2022 and 2025.
The commitment for the B777-9 is valued at up to USD 18.6 billion at list prices. The new aircraft variant will make its global debut next month.
“The new 777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient long-haul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways’ fleet,” says Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. “It’s the ideal replacement for the 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network.”
British Airways has been modernising its fleet – one of the largest in the airline industry – to more efficiently serve its extensive global route network. In recent years, the airline has introduced the B787 Dreamliner family to replace its medium-sized widebody aircraft.
In ordering the B777-9, British Airways extends a long-running relationship with the popular B777 family. The airline is one of the largest B777 operators with a fleet of nearly 60 of the long-range aircraft. The airline last year committed to four more B777-300ER (Extended Range) aircraft via operating lease.
The B777-9 is larger and has a slightly wider cabin than current B777s. Powered by B787 Dreamliner technologies, an all-new composite wing, and other enhancements, the B777-9 offers airlines 12 per cent lower fuel consumption than competing aircraft, according to Boeing. The B777-9 can also fly farther than its predecessors with a standard range of 7,600 nautical miles (14,075 kilometres).
“British Airways is one of the most iconic international carriers, now in its 100th year of connecting the world with its impressive route network,” adds Kevin McAllister, president & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“We are honoured that British Airways has selected the 777X as part of its fleet for its next century. Together with the 787 Dreamliner, we are excited for the 777X to help British Airways build on its incredible legacy,” McAllister says.
British Airways has 135 widebodied, long-haul aircraft in its fleet (12 A380s, 30 B787s, 12 B777-300ERs, 46 B777-200s and 35 B747s) with 12 more B787s, four B777-300ERs and 18 A350s on order.
The selection by IAG and British Airways puts the B777X at 358 orders and commitments from eight customers. Production of the B777X began in 2017, with first flight planned for this year and first delivery expected in 2020.