British Airways has decided to replace its fleet of Boeing 747, the world’s largest dedicated passenger, by the new 777X. According to Boeing, the International Airlines Group, a holding company that controls the British airline, will purchase 42 aircraft of the 777-9 model, 18 of them firm orders and 24 options. The deal could reach $ 18.6 billion.
For now, this is a purchase commitment and so it is not yet on Boeing’s official order and delivery numbers until it is finalized.
“The new 777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient longhaul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways’ fleet. It is the ideal replacement for the 747 and will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network,” said Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. “This aircraft will Provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30 per cent Compared to the 747. It Also Provides an enhanced passenger experience.”
Currently, British Airways has 34 Boeing 747-400 in its fleet and plans to keep them flying for several years, unlike other airlines, which have already begun their withdrawal from service.
The “Queen of the Skies”, which has just completed 50 years of its first flight, is still widely used in the world, but its operating costs are high and has made it unfeasible for many routes.
Debut in March
The 777X has proved to be a masterpiece by Boeing. Although based on the original widebody, introduced in the 1990s, the new large-capacity twin engine (400-425 passengers in a two-class cabin) had its design revised to incorporate technological advances seen today in the 787.
Among them are more efficient wings, more economical engines, advanced avionics and a redesigned cabin that is even wider than the first generation 777. In addition, the 777X will have an innovation, the folding wingtips, a feature that will be used to reduce the wingspan of the jet in the ground in order to avoid adaptations at the airports in which to operate.
Including IAG’s request, the Boeing 777X already has 358 orders and commitments from eight customers. The debut of the new airplane will take place in March and the first flight, still in 2019. The first deliveries are scheduled for 2020, according to Boeing.
See also: Airbus confirms end of A380 production