The British aerospace industry received a boost after British Airways ordered 18 new Airbus A350 aircraft in a deal worth £3.9bn.
BA’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) also said it’s in discussions with rivals Airbus and Boeing about supplying aircraft to its Spanish arm Iberia.
IAG said the deal was for 18 A350s, plus the option for a further 18, in a major coup for Airbus as they continue to increase their foothold in a market dominated by Boeing’s wide bodied 777 aircraft.
British aerospace giants Rolls-Royce, who powers the aircraft with their Trent XWB engines, said their end of the deal is worth £1.04 billion.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet. Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably.”
Mr Walsh added the deal will provide a huge benefit to both the British and Spanish economies.
“This order will also secure jobs in Britain and Spain. The A350’s wings are made in Britain while its horizontal tail plane, horizontal tail plane boxes and lower wing covers are made in Spain. Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are assembled in Britain,” he added.
The deal represents a further blow to Boeing, who yesterday announced they have started to modify malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries on their Dreamliner 787 aircraft.
British Airways is also on the verge of taking delivery of 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos, the airline’s first, which is the market rival to the 787.