Etihad Airways has announced a firm order for 56 new Boeing wide-body aircraft, with options and purchase rights for a further 26, to support its continued global expansion. The order represents an investment of up to US$25.2 billion at list prices, including related engines.
The deal, unveiled at the Dubai Air Show, includes 25 next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft of which 17 are 777-9X and eight are 777-8X aircraft. Etihad Airways is the first airline to order the 777-8X and will be a launch customer for the aircraft, which is expected to enter service around the end of the decade.
The airline also ordered 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners. The announcement makes Etihad the largest airline customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, when combined with previous orders for 41 of the Boeing 787-9 variant, and includes the milestone 1,000th Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be ordered. It also ordered one Boeing 777-200 freighter.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive of Etihad Airways, said: “This is a significant, timely and essential order for us, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary and plan for our next decade and beyond. In just 10 years, we have grown from a start-up carrier to a global airline. This order enables us to build upon our achievements, using the next generation of aircraft to support our next generation of development.
“Boeing has been a long-term strategic partner for Etihad Airways throughout that journey, playing an integral role in our growth. I am delighted we are extending our relationship, bringing industry-leading aircraft into our modern fleet.”
The aircraft will be used by Etihad Airways to launch flights to new destinations, add capacity in existing markets and progressively replace existing, less-efficient aircraft.
James Hogan said that the deal would also provide direct economic benefits domestically and internationally. “This deal is good for Etihad Airways, it is good for Boeing and it is also good for economic development in the UAE and in the USA. In the United States, this order translates into a direct impact on America’s gross domestic product and supports employment throughout the aerospace supply chain.”
All the aircraft in this order will be powered by General Electric GE9X, GEnx and GE90 engines.
Ray Conner, President and Chief Executive, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “We are very proud of our relationship with Etihad Airways, which began nine years ago with an order for five 777-300ERs.
“It is gratifying that as one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, Etihad Airways continues to have confidence in Boeings products by selecting the 777X and by increasing its order for the 787 Dreamliner. We look forward to further strengthening this partnership as Etihad Airways continues to build its position as a forerunner in the global aviation industry.”
The Boeing 777-9X is a stretched, more fuel-efficient version of the airline’s largest current aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER. Typically seating 400 passengers, the 777-9X will be capable of flying the same distances as its predecessor, but with up to 40 more passengers, much lower operating costs and reduced fuel consumption per seat.
The Boeing 777-8X is a smaller version but with even greater range, enabling Etihad Airways to serve ultra-long haul routes such as Abu Dhabi – Los Angeles more efficiently than any aircraft in service today. It replaces and improves upon the existing Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, currently the longest range airliner in commercial service.
The Boeing 787-10 is the largest and latest version of the Dreamliner family, typically carrying more than 320 passengers, up to 50 more than the 787-9, which Etihad Airways will introduce late in 2014.
The series 10 aircraft will be capable of flying between Abu Dhabi and medium-haul destinations such as Dublin or Johannesburg, again with more passengers and lower fuel burn and emissions per seat than current generation aircraft.
The first of the new aircraft to join the Etihad Airways fleet will be the Boeing 787-10s, which will begin arriving in 2018, followed by the 777-9X from 2020 and the 777-8X from 2022.
Etihad Airways currently has 86 aircraft in operation, with more than 80 aircraft on firm order. Its last major aircraft deal was made at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008, where Etihad Airways announced firm orders for 100 aircraft, including 45 Boeing aircraft, in a long-term order that was, at the time, one of the largest in aviation history.