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Etihad poised to make massive new Boeing order

October 25, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Etihad Airways is reportedly on the brink of placing a massive new aircraft order. Reports suggest the Abu Dhabi-based airline will buy as many as 60 new Boeing jets, including the revamped B777X, as well as more B787 Dreamliners. It may buy up to 30 of each.

Etihad, now 10 years old, is a major presence in Australia and part owner of Virgin Australia (with close to 20% of the shares). It’s also a major player in its own right, as many Sydneysiders noticed recently when an Etihad A340-600 made an historic flypast of Sydney Opera House (a low-altitude aerial salute, in official terminology) for the venue’s 40th birthday.

The Etihad aircraft operating the commemorative flight flew at bout 2000 feet over the Opera House and along the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

As well as being a partner and shareholder of Virgin Australia, Etihad is a major partner of Sydney Opera House. Boeing 777X variants

Etihad’s predicted big Boeing order could trigger its Gulf rivals to follow suit. Reuters suggests this could see a USD 50 billion jet-buying spree from the Gulf. It will also serve as a vote of confidence in the troubled B787. Etihad already has many of those on order.

As for the B777X, it has been toured as the long-awaited plane that can fly passengers from Sydney or Melbourne to London non-stop – though Etihad would have no reason to do that. The plane may be with us by the end of the decade.

Several variants of Boeing’s current popular twin-engine widebody B777 are on the drawing board. They are known collectively as the B777X. They include the B777-8X, said to offer a range of 9500 nautical miles (17,600km). That could potentially make non-stop flights between Australia’s east coast and London.

Boeing stresses that the 777 “is the unequivocal market leader in long-haul service, delivering proven performance, profitability and reliability to airlines around the world”.

A company statement issued earlier this year confirmed that the future 777 models, expected to enter service at the end of the decade, “will include increased fuel efficiency, enhanced passenger comfort and increased range”.

Written by : Peter Needham

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