Airbus and Boeing are competing for a contract worth £400m-£600m from British Airways which plans to equip its regional subsidiaries with around 100 new short haul airliners.
The two companies have until 16 March to complete and deliver their bids. Airbus is offering aircraft from its A319, 320 and 321 family, while Boeing is offering its latest series 737 jets.
The new planes will replace airliners in four regional subsidiaries: British Airways Regional, Air Liberte, Deutsche BA and EuroGatwick.
British Airways Regional wants 30 aircraft from September 1999, while 70 more could replace the fleets of the other three airlines. Replacements are needed because of strict new noise rules which take effect in 2002.
‘We will be looking for proposals which will help drive down operating and maintenance costs,’ Robert Ayling, BA chief executive said.
BA is also looking for what it calls ‘innovative ways of acquiring such a comprehensive fleet,’ which will include leasing as well as outright purchase.