Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has today placed an order for Airbus’ wide-body long-range aircraft and the new generation double-deck Airbus A380.
The Abu Dhabi based airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to purchase 24 Airbus aircraft, including four A380s, four ultra-long range A340-500s, four A340-600s and twelve A330-200s.
In addition the airline has also taken options to purchase 12 additional aircraft. The total value of the agreement is said to be in excess of $7 billion.
Deliveries to Etihad of A330-200s and A340-500s are to begin in 2006, whilst the A340-600s and A380s will be delivered in 2007. The A340-500s and A340-600s will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500s.
Etihad will use the aircraft to further develop its route network within the Middle East and to Europe, Asia, India and to North America. Etihad currently operates a fleet of six aircraft, including four A330-200s and an Airbus A340-300.
Airbus has also confirmed that the Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 36 Airbus single aisle and wide body aircraft. Reports suggest the deal could be worth in excess of $3 billion.
The order consists of 19 A320’s, 12 A321’s and five A330-200’s. The new aircraft will support what Airbus describes as Turkish Airlines’ aggressive growth strategy.
With deliveries scheduled from end 2005, the airline, which operates domestic and international flights via Istanbul, plans to use the aircraft on both domestic, medium and long haul routes internationally. Turkish Airlines will select the engines type to equip the different aircraft at a later stage.