Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has announced a firm order for 50 Airbus A350 XWBs, 36 A320neo aircraft and one A330-200F as part of its fleet modernization strategy.
The contract was signed on November 17 during the first day of the Dubai Airshow 2013 by James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ CEO, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus’ president and CEO.
Etihad Airways’ new Airbus order comprises 40 Airbus A350-900s, 10 A350-1000s, one A330-200F, 26 A321neos and 10 A320neos.
It also has taken options on 30 additional Airbus aircraft from these families. The 10 A320neos in Etihad Airways’ order will be delivered from 2018 to 2020 to Air Serbia, which Etihad Airways manages and in which it has a 49 per cent stake.
Earlier in the day, Etihad announced orders for 56 Boeing jets, including Boeing 777-8Xs, Boeing 777-9Xs, Boeing 787-10s and a Boeing 777 Freighter, along with options and purchase rights on 12 more 777Xs, 12 more 787-10s and two more 777Fs.
The Abu Dhabi carrier values its combined November 17 orders and options at $67 billion at list prices. This would have been the largest commercial-aircraft order ever, except that later in the day Emirates Airline announced firm orders for 200 Boeing and Airbus widebody jets with a total list price value of $99 billion.
Etihad Airways’ new Airbus and Boeing aircraft will be powered by a total of 127 GE Aviation, 115 Rolls-Royce and 52 CFM International engines. The CFM International LEAP-1A engines are for the 26 A321neos that Etihad Airways has ordered for its own fleet: no mention has yet been made of which engines will power the 10 A320neos which Etihad Airways has ordered for Air Serbia.
Fast-growing Etihad Airways currently operates a fleet of 23 Airbus A320-family aircraft, 25 A330s and 11 A340s. The new aircraft will fit seamlessly into the airline’s existing long-haul fleet, delivering operational efficiencies and cost savings, according to Airbus.
“Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330,” noted Hogan. “A decade later, we have grown into one of the world’s leading airlines and the importance of Airbus to our fast-growing operations has never been stronger.”
Added Hogan: “We have more than 60 Airbus aircraft in our fleet today, and this latest order is testament to the continued strength of our partnership. As one of the first airlines set to receive the much-awaited Airbus A350-1000, we look forward to benefiting from its operational efficiencies and cost savings.”
The Airbus A350 XWB is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. The new family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized to accommodate Airbus’ 18-inch economy seat-width for long range passenger comfort, will also bring a 25 per cent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category.
Scheduled for entry into service in 2014, the A350 XWB to date has already won firm orders for 764 aircraft from 39 customers worldwide, not including Etihad Airways’ new firm order for 50 aircraft from the family.
The A350 XWB could yet become the fastest-selling widebody type to reach net orders for 1,000 aircraft, an honor achieved on November 17 when Etihad Airways placed its order for 30 Boeing 787-10s. That order took net Boeing 787-family sales to 1,012 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Airbus A320neo-family firm orders stood at 2,487 aircraft from 44 customers by the end of October, making it the fastest-selling commercial airliner ever, according to the manufacturer.
The Airbus A330-200F is the all-freight version of the Airbus A330 family. It is the world’s most modern mid-size freighter and can carry 70 tonnes of payload with a range capability of up to 4,000 nautical miles.
To date, Airbus has won firm orders for more than 1,280 A330s and more than 1,010 A330-family aircraft are now flying with more than 100 operators worldwide.