British Airways, Iberia plan 787 orders

British Airways parent IAG said it will buy 18 additional Boeing Co. 787s and possibly more Dreamliners for its Iberia arm once restructuring measures for the Spanish unit take hold.

British Airways is exercising existing options for 787s to be delivered from 2017 through 2021 and phase out Boeing 747-400s, IAG said in a statement Wednesday. They will be powered by Rolls-Royce Holdings Trent 1000 engines, IAG said.

British Airways had previously ordered 24 787s and is due to start taking deliveries this year once Boeing begins handing over aircraft again after Dreamliner operations were halted on Jan. 16. Boeing is working with regulators to certify an upgrade to the 787 electrical system after fire incidents caused U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ground the fleet.

“The aircraft offers a step change in fuel burn efficiency versus our existing aircraft with improvements in fuel cost per seat of more than 20 percent,” Willie Walsh, chief executive officer of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, as London-based IAG is known, said in the statement.

IAG said it has also secured an unspecified number of additional delivery slots for future Iberia needs, saying the creating of the parent company has resulted in greater buying power for both airlines. Iberia currently operates Airbus SAS wide-bodies for its intercontinental flights.

“We are delighted that our valued customer IAG plans to increase the number of 787s in the British Airways fleet, which is testament to the 787s unrivaled fuel efficiency and passenger comfort,” Boeing said in an emailed statement, adding the deal still needs to be finalized.

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