(Corrects type of airplane to 787 from 747 in fifth paragraph)
MADRID, April 3 International Airlines Group
said on Wednesday it had firmed up orders for
18 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners, a show of confidence in
the jet that has been grounded since January because of battery
The long-haul aircraft would replace some of British
Airways' current fleet of Boeing 747-400s between 2017 and 2021,
IAG, which owns the UK airline and Spain's flag carrier Iberia,
said in a statement to the Spanish stock exchange.
Boeing has said it is confident the recent fix for the
grounded jet's battery problems would work, and Chief Executive
Jim McNerney urged regulators on March 28 to let the plane back
Regulators worldwide banned flights of the 787 after
lithium-ion batteries overheated in two of the aircraft in
IAG said it is also talking with Boeing on the commercial
conditions for an order of 787s for Iberia, adding the carrier
had first to complete its restructuring to rein in costs.
The order is on top of a previous request by British Airways
for 24 Dreamliners, IAG said in the statement.
Boeing has booked orders for 42 Dreamliners so far this
year, and currently has firm orders for 841 of the planes.
Boeing says it is close to concluding testing of a revamped
battery system for the 787, which will then go to regulators for
approval. On Wednesday, the company said it was conducting a
test flight of the 787 in Washington state for systems not
related to the battery problems.
(Reporting by Paul Day in Madrid; Additional reporting by Alwyn
Scott; Editing by Dale Hudson and Helen Massy-Beresford)