BA orders Boeings

British Airways has taken the first step towards expanding its longhaul fleet by ordering four Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft for delivery during 2009.

The airline has also taken out options on four Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft for delivery in 2010.

Robert Boyle, British Airways’ commercial director, said: ‘These new aircraft will enable us to grow our longhaul business after we move to Terminal 5.

‘It was a close decision between the Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s. However, the ease of assimilating up to eight aircraft into our existing 777 fleet, rather than having a small number of A330s, swung the balance in Boeing’s favour.

‘We are confident of a similarly competitive approach from both manufacturers as we move towards our major longhaul fleet renewal and expansion order later this year.’

Negotiations continue with GE and Rolls Royce about which engines will be used on the new Boeing 777 aircraft.

The airline’s competition for additional and replacement longhaul aircraft to be delivered in the next decade is considering the Airbus A330, Airbus A350, Airbus A380, Boeing 787, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747-8.

The first aircraft to be replaced will be 20 Boeing 747s and 14 Boeing 767s, the oldest of which are currently 17 years’ old.