Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has selected Airbus’ wide-body long-range aircraft and the new generation double-deck Airbus A380 for its future growth. The Abu Dhabi based full-service airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to purchase 24 Airbus aircraft, including four of the revolutionary double-decked A380s, four ultra-long range A340-500s, four A340-600s and twelve A330-200s, the most efficient wide-body twin.
In addition the airline has also taken options to purchase 12 additional aircraft, the types of which will be defined in due course. The total value of the agreement is in excess of $7 billion.
Deliveries to Etihad are to begin in 2006 for the A330-200s and A340-500s, and in 2007 for the A340-600s and A380s. The A340-500s and –600s will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500s – the A330 and A380 engines have yet to be announced.
Etihad will use the aircraft to further develop its route network within the Middle East and to Europe, Asia, India and to North America. Etihad currently operates a fleet of six aircraft, including four of the market leading A330-200s and an Airbus A340-300.
Dr Ahmed Bin Saif al Nahyan, chairman of Etihad Airways said, “Today is a truly significant day in Etihad’s young existence. I cannot recall a time in airline history when a start-up operation, barely 8 months old, has had the confidence, resources and ambition to place orders for up 36 new wide bodied aircraft with a combined value of more than $7 billion. If you think the last eight months have been busy for us – this is nothing compared to what the coming months and years have in store.”
“Etihad’s commitment gives me a great sense of pride. In less than one year, Etihad has attained an enviable reputation as of the most respected airlines in the region. With our modern and very efficient aircraft we are proud to become Etihad’s partner for their rapidly expanding network,” said Noël Forgeard, Airbus’ President and Chief Executive Officer.
Etihad Airways was launched on November 12, 2003. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )