It announced firm orders at the Dubai Air Show for 87 Airbus and 56 Boeing aircraft, with a further 56 options and purchase rights. The new aircraft will be powered by 127 GE Aviation, 115 Rolls-Royce and 52 CFM engines.
The new aircraft will be used to support the ambitious growth strategy of Etihad Airways, launching into new markets and increasing frequencies on existing routes, as well as progressively replacing its older, less efficient aircraft.
In a unique new approach, Etihad Airways will have a capability to redirect orders to members of its equity alliance, the airlines in key markets around the world in which it holds minority shareholdings. This will allow capacity to be allocated where most required, while improving fleet commonality and sharing significant cost synergies among equity alliance carriers.
The order, for 25 next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft, 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, one Boeing 777 freighter, 50 Airbus A350 XWB, 36 Airbus A320neo family aircraft and one Airbus A330-200F, will see passenger aircraft deliveries start in 2018.
The airline currently has a fleet of 86 aircraft, with more than 80 on firm order. Its last major aircraft deal was made at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008, where Etihad Airways announced firm orders for 100 aircraft, in a long-term order which was at the time one of the largest in commercial aviation history. The value of the 2008 and 2013 orders, including engines, tops US$ 110 billion at list prices.
Etihad Airways will now become the single largest airline customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the 30 aircraft in this order being added to 41 announced in previous orders. It will also become a launch customer for the Boeing 777-8X aircraft.
The mix of wide- and narrow-body aircraft will help support the development of the airline’s maturing network, focused on its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which will see the new Midfield Terminal opening in 2017, significantly increasing capacity.