Etihad Airways eyes potential order for Boeing 777X
Etihad Airways has become the latest Middle Eastern carrier to express an interest in Boeing’s much-awaited 777X development, following in the footsteps of neighbouring airlines Emirates and Qatar Airways.
The proposed enhancement to Boeing’s popular 777 aircraft, which could be operational by the end of this decade, is expected to include a range of aerodynamic and engine revisions to improve performance.
“Consistent with our product development activity, we’ve been sitting down with customers in the Middle East region, who are important to the programme, to get their insights and inputs relative to a potential replacement for today’s 777,” commented Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s senior vice president of sales in the Middle East.
“I would say that our customers are probably looking for something in the order of 10-20 percent greater efficiency on a per seat basis from a new product. They are looking for, as airlines always are, additional payload, additional seats, and additional range capabilities,” Bentrott told Aviation Business magazine.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Etihad Airways had further reduced its Airbus A350-1000 order, following a series of modifications and delivery delays with the twin-engined aircraft.
The airline had originally purchased 25 A350-1000s as part of a large-scale fleet expansion programme in 2008. However, it was rumoured to be unhappy with design modifications announced at Paris International Airshow last year, leading to six aircraft being removed from the firm order in January 2012. As a result of the latest cancellation, Etihad’s order currently stands at 12 A350-1000s, with deliveries scheduled to commence from 2017.
"While we have reduced our firm orders, our 25 options and purchase rights for this fleet remain in place and will no doubt play a crucial role in the airline's growth. This is not a new cancellation," a spokesman for the airline commented. "Although not intrinsically linked, the recent delay to the A350 XWB programme provided an appropriate opportunity for Etihad to revisit its projected fleet mix in the latter part of the decade.”