Etihad Airways to become the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Etihad Airways today announced it was buying 10 more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a deal which will make it the largest operator of the aircraft type in the world.
The airline has also ordered another two Boeing 777 Freighters for its fast growing Etihad Crystal Cargo operation.
The 12 additional aircraft are valued at $2.8 billion at current list prices.
The extra Dreamliners mean Etihad Airways will now take delivery of 41 787s between late 2014 and 2019.
The airline also has options and purchase rights on 25 more 787s.
The 787-9 will carry up to 300 passengers and have a range of 8000 nautical miles (14,800 kilometres), and will be initially used on Etihad Airways routes to destinations including Dublin, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Nagoya, Delhi and Istanbul.
“Our decision to expand our Dreamliner fleet is testimony to Etihad’s commitment to operating one of the youngest and most fuel efficient fleets in the skies,” Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Hogan, said.
“It also reflects our confidence in the 787’s ability to have a significant impact on our operating efficiencies and the passenger experience we can offer onboard this revolutionary aircraft.
“Both the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter offer highly attractive operating economics and will facilitate our global expansion plans by allowing us to transport passengers and cargo into new markets from our hub in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Hogan said.
The two extra 777 Freighters mean Etihad Airways will have a fleet of 21 777s (18 passenger aircraft and three freighters).
The cargo fleet also includes two A300-600Fs, two A330-200Fs and two MD11Fs.
“We continually review our operating environment and look to leverage off the great flexibility which we built in to our 2008 fleet order.”
The airline announced what was then the largest aircraft order in commercial aviation history at the 2008 Farnborough International Air Show for up to 205 aircraft – 100 firm orders, 55 options and 50 purchase rights.
“We saw an opportunity to add further certainty to our growth profile in the mid to late part of the decade. The Dreamliner is a wonderful aircraft which will provide a great experience for our guests.
The twin engine, carbon composite 787 made its first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong on October 26.
The Dreamliner offers exceptional environmental performance, burning 20 per cent less fuel than other similar sized aircraft.
“In less than 10 years Etihad Airways has established an enviable track record and has earned global recognition for its focus on providing its customers with a quality product,” said Jim Albaugh, CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with Etihad Airways and are confident the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter will make valuable contributions to Etihad’s growth plans and service to its passenger and freight customers.”
As an airline, Etihad has come a long way in a short time – just like its home Abu Dhabi.
The airline was established by Royal (Emiri) Decree in July 2003 and is wholly owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi with a mandate to operate safely, commercially and profitably.
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