Etihad Airways is continuing its fleet expansion with the purchase of five more long-range aircraft.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has agreed to buy five Boeing 777-200LR aircraft from Air India, as it moves forward with its international growth plans.
The two carriers signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) in Mumbai this week for the purchase of the wide-body jets, with deliveries expected to commence in 2014. Following a re-fit of the aircraft’s cabins, the aircraft will be deployed on international routes including the brand new Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles service, which was announced earlier this week.
“The Boeing 777-200LR is a fantastic addition, giving us extra reach immediately and complementing our long term fleet strategy,” said James Hogan, Etihad’s president & CEO. “Our continued strong organic growth, boosted by the impact of our equity partners, has opened up new opportunities for additional destinations.
“We are looking forward to starting direct services to Los Angeles, as well as increasing our flying to South America. This is the aircraft to do that,” he added.
The B777-200LR is the longest-range version of the B777, flying more than 17,000km with a maximum payload. The five B777-200LRs Etihad is purchasing from Air India are, on average, six-years-old, and will add to Etihad’s existing fleet of 17 B777-300ERs.
The purchase comes amid a busy week of expansion for Etihad. Following the announcement of the launch of LA flights earlier this week, the airline also unveiled plans to add a second daily flight to Jakarta.