Big day for BA

British Airways (BA) has ordered 12 Airbus A380 and 24 Boeing 787 aircraft with options for a further seven A380s and 18 787s. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The new aircraft will replace 34 of the airline’s longhaul fleet and will be delivered between 2010 and 2014. The company aims to increase it’s capacity by four per cent a year with the flexibility to match this expansion with market conditions.

BA claim the aircraft will be quieter, with a higher fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, all key considerations in their order.

‘This is an exciting day for British Airways with our largest fleet order since 1998,’ said Willie Walsh, British Airways’ chief executive. ‘These aircraft set the gold standard when it comes to environmental performance. They will contribute significantly to our target of improving fuel efficiency by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2025.

‘They are also much quieter than their predecessors, which is of vital importance at Heathrow. Both the A380 and B787 are rated as producing a quarter of the noise level of the B747-400.

The A380 will be used to provide more capacity for the airline’s key high-density markets and maximise use of scarce Heathrow slots. The B787 will be used to start new routes and increase frequencies in existing markets.

The airline has arranged for a group of banks to provide $1.5bn of debt financing to cover all of the airline’s firm orders to the end of 2011.