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Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways restructures Airbus, Boeing jet orders

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Etihad Airways said on Thursday it has agreed with Airbus and Boeing to restructure a “large portion” of its orders, in what appeared to be a major cut in long-haul jet orders.

A model Etihad Airways plane is seen on stage before the unveiling of the new home jersey for the New York City Football Club in New York November 13, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The Abu Dhabi-owned airline said in a statement that it has committed to take delivery of five Airbus A350-1000s and 26 A321neos plus six Boeing 777-9s “over the coming years”.

However, it has ordered more aircraft, mostly in 2013 when it went on a jet-buying spree, and said in the statement that the “balance of the remaining orders will be defined at a later time through rescheduling, restructuring or reduction.”

According to Etihad documents and the manufacturers’ websites, Etihad had placed orders for 26 A321neos, 40 A350-900s and 22 A350-1000s, as well as eight 777-8s and 17 777-9s.

The airline said it will also continue to take delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, but did not say how many it would take.

Etihad has so far received 28 of 71 Dreamliners it has ordered, according to Boeing’s website.

Etihad said it had reached agreements with Airbus and Boeing to not disclose details of the order changes.

The airline’s announcement comes after a lengthy strategy review that began in 2016 after it piled billions of dollars into a failed strategy of buying minority stakes in other airlines.

Etihad has reported losses in excess of $3 billion and thousands of employees have left, including long-serving chief executive James Hogan, since the review started.

Etihad’s new boss Tony Douglas said last year the airline was now focused on flying passengers to and from Abu Dhabi, rather than competing to be a major intercontinental airline.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Jan Harvey and Susan Fenton