* BA parent orders 18 A350-1000
* Could order A350s and/or Boeing 787s for Iberia
LONDON, April 22 International Airlines Group
unveiled orders for 18 Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft
for its British Airways arm and said it was in further talks
with Airbus and Boeing to secure more planes for
its Iberia unit.
The $6 billion order for the largest version of Airbus'
newest jet is seen likely to step up competition with Boeing
over the lucrative "mini-jumbo" plane market, currently
dominated by the U.S. manufacturer's wide-bodied 777.
Reuters reported on April 7 that BA was close to ordering
around 20 of the 350-seat A350-1000s, deepening its presence at
one of Boeing's most loyal big-jet buyers and putting pressure
on its rival to speed up a revamp of the hugely successful 777.
BA is about to receive its first of 12 A380 superjumbos but
the A350 deal marks its first purchase of European twin-engined
long-haul jets, one of the most hotly contested market segments.
Boeing has said it continues to see IAG as an important
customer and industry sources say there is a good chance BA will
also buy any future enhanced version of the twin-engined 777.
IAG said it had placed 18 firm orders for the A350-1000,
worth $332 million each at list prices, along with 18 options.
These are in addition to previously announced plans to
convert 18 options for Boeing's 787 long-haul planes.
For Spanish flag carrier Iberia, IAG said it had reached
agreement with Airbus and Boeing to secure commercial terms and
delivery slots that "could lead to firm orders for A350s and/or
or for Boeing 787s". Airbus is the commercial airline arm of
European aerospace group EADS.
Firm orders would only be made when Iberia is in a position
to grow profitably after restructuring, IAG said.