After a thorough selection process, International Airline Group (IAG), and British Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to buy 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft plus 18 options, as part of the airline’s on-going long-haul aircraft fleet renewal and modernisation strategy.
IAG, owner of both British Airways and Iberia, has also secured commercial terms and delivery slots that could lead to firm orders for Iberia. Firm orders will only be made when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base.
The choice of the A350-1000 follows British Airways’ decision in 2007 to buy 12 Airbus A380s, the first of which will be delivered this summer. Operating the A380 and A350 together delivers real value to the world’s leading airlines because it allows them to match aircraft capacity to traffic demand on any route.
“The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet. Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably. This will not only bring greater flexibility to our network but also more choice for our customer,” said Willie Walsh, , IAG Chief Executive.
Across all its aircraft families Airbus’ unique approach ensures that aircraft share the highest commonality in airframes, on-board systems, cockpits and handling characteristics. This reduces significantly operating costs for airlines. In addition, with only minimal additional training, pilots can transition between these aircraft more efficiently.
“This is an important announcement from one of the world’s most respected and influential airline brands,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A380 and the A350 are perfectly matched for greener long haul operations and demonstrate environmental leadership. We are simply delighted that British Airways has chosen the A350 to spread its global wings and its iconic livery.”