Etihad Airways has placed its largest ever fleet order for 199 aircraft and 294 engines, worth a collective $67bn. Announced at the Dubai Airshow, Etihad will take 87 Airbus aircraft, worth $41.8bn, and 56 Boeing aircraft, worth $25.2bn including a further 56 options and purchase rights. The deal includes 25 next-generation 777X aircraft, 30 787-10 Dreamliners, one 777 freighter, 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neo family aircraft and one A330-200F. Passenger aircraft deliveries start in 2018. Etihad becomes a launch customer for the 777-8X, which is expected to enter service around the end of the decade. The order includes options and purchase rights for 12 additional 777Xs. The order also marks the 1,000th order for the 787 Dreamliner family since its launch in 2004. The engine orders include 127 GE Aviation engines; 115 from Rolls-Royce; and 52 CFM engines. Etihad will use the new aircraft to replace some of its older aircraft, the rest will build on its current fleet of 86 aircraft in order that the airline can increase its existing frequencies and launch routes to new markets. Some aircraft may go to airlines in which Etihad holds a minority share.
Etihad also announced its acquisition of a 33.3 per cent stake in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline, which will offer Etihad’s first branded regional operations under the new Etihad Regional badge and livery. The carrier also holds shares in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia, and Air Serbia. Last week, it received regulatory approval for a proposed 24 per cent investment in India’s Jet Airways. “The opportunity to standardise fleets and align product among members – whilst always keeping the distinct brand identities of each airline – will offer both cost synergies and marketing benefits,” said James Hogan, CEO of Etihad. In addition to this latest deal, Etihad already has 80 additional aircraft on order.