Etihad Airways has placed an order with Airbus worth US$2.2 billion at list prices for 12 new wide-body aircraft which includes four A340-600s, five A330 passenger aircraft and three A330 freighters.The agreement was signed today by James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive and Louis Gallois, Airbus president and CEO.
The new aircraft are scheduled for delivery between 2008 and 2011 and upon completion will increase the UAE national airline’s fleet to 42 aircraft.
The four A340-600 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines and powerplants for the eight A330 aircraft will be chosen in the next two months.
James Hogan, said: “This aircraft order will enable Etihad to continue its impressive route network growth which now stands at 43 global destinations. Each new Airbus aircraft within the new order has been specifically chosen to fit our ambitious development plans.”
The Abu Dhabi-based airline continues to expand its network and this year has launched flights to Kuala Lumpur, Kochi (Cochin), Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and Sydney, with Dublin set to join in July and Milan and Singapore in September.
In addition to the purchase of the 12 new aircraft, Etihad has decided to defer the delivery of its four Airbus A380s. The order for the A380s was made in 2004, with the first delivery expected in 2009.
Mr Hogan added: “We have agreed to defer the A380 delivery date with Airbus to 2013 when our business model and global route network will be better suited to competitive commercial opportunities offered by this aircraft.”
Louis Gallois, Airbus President and CEO, added: “Etihad is one of the world’s leading airlines and we are delighted to build on our partnership.”
“I am particularly proud about Etihad’s faith in our A340 aircraft which offers outstanding performance and unparalleled levels of passenger comfort. I am also delighted that Etihad continues to support the A330, the leading aircraft type in this sector.”
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, Etihad Airways’ chairman, said “The growing Etihad fleet creates a greater platform for a more effective international route network to support business and tourism development in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. I am very proud of the airline’s contribution to help Abu Dhabi’s aspirations to be a commercial and cultural centre in the Middle East.”
Etihad was recently named ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline,’ ‘Middle East’s Leading First Class Airline’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline Website’ at the inaugural regional World Travel Awards, Middle East & Africa ceremony, that took place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
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