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Etihad Airways announces order for up to 117 Airbus aircraft

November 19, 2013 Aviation No Comments Email Email

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today announced a firm order for 87 Airbus aircraft, plus purchase rights for a further 30, to support the global expansion of its operations.  The order represents an investment of up to US$ 26.9 billion at list prices, including related engines.

The firm order, unveiled at the Dubai Air Show, includes 50 Airbus A350 XWB and 36 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, together with one Airbus A330-200F freighter. Etihad - Airbus - Rolls Royce - CFM

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said, “Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330.

“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. 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 aircraft will be used to launch flights to new destinations around the world, add more capacity in established markets and progressively replace existing, less-efficient aircraft.

It also provides the unique opportunity to redirect new aircraft orders from Etihad Airways to members of its equity alliance, airlines in key markets around the world in which it holds minority shareholdings.  This will enable capacity to be assigned where and when it is most needed, while improving fleet commonality and sharing significant cost synergies.

Mr Hogan said: “The revenue benefits of our equity alliance, to all the members, have always been clear.  What has been less obvious is the opportunity for business synergies which can improve the operating costs of all the partners.  The flexibility of this deal, and the economies of scale it offers, means all our strategic partners will have the chance to benefit from it.”

The Airbus A350 XWB order includes 40 A350-900 and 10 A350-1000 aircraft, which will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Deliveries will commence in 2020.

Etihad Airways has also ordered 26 A321neo and 10 A320neo aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery from 2018, while the A330-200F will arrive in 2017. The A321neos will be powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.

Fabrice Brégier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus, said: “We are delighted that Etihad Airways has consistently maintained its confidence in Airbus by selecting our A320neo family aircraft, which defines innovation and offers sustainability, and by expanding its A330-200F fleet.

“Airbus is proud that alongside the A350 XWB, the world’s most technologically advanced and efficient aircraft, our products will provide a significant contribution to the continued success of Etihad Airways.”

In a typical two-class configuration, the A350-900, which can seat 315 passengers and the A350-1000, which is the largest member of the A350 XWB family and seats 369 passengers, offer the range to expand the network around the world.

The A320neo is offered as an option for the A320 family and incorporates new more efficient engines and large “sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 per cent in fuel savings. At the end of October 2013, firm orders for the neo stood at 2,487 from 44 customers, making it the fastest selling commercial airliner ever.

The A330-200F is the cargo version of the best-selling A330. It is the world’s most modern mid-size freighter and can carry 70 tonnes of payload with a range of up to 4,000 nm.

Etihad Airways currently has 86 aircraft in operation, with more than 80 aircraft on firm order.  Its last major aircraft deal was at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008, where Etihad Airways announced firm orders for 100 aircraft, including 55 Airbus aircraft, in a long-term order which was at the time one of the largest in aviation history.

The Seabury Group served as advisors in the conclusion of this deal.

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