Etihad Airways, on Wednesday, announced that it planned to purchase five Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft from Air India for an unspecified amount.
Both airlines have already signed a letter of intent, and, subject to approvals, the aircraft will be delivered to Etihad from the beginning of 2014.
Air India, which purchased these aircraft from Boeing six years ago, has been scouting for buyers as it is progressively inducting Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in its fleet. These five were part of the 68 aircraft ordered from Boeing in 2006 for $11 billion.
Air India has eight Boeing 777-200 LRs in its total fleet of 108 aircraft, which include 35 wide-bodied planes. The 777-200 LRs are the longest range passenger aircraft in operation with capability to fly non-stop 17,370 km, and are being purchased by Etihad to support its accelerated network growth plan.
Etihad is in the process of buying 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways.
These aircraft will be used on Etihad’s new route between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles from June 1, 2014, the airline said in a statement.
“The Boeing 777-200 LR is a fantastic addition, giving us extra reach immediately, and complementing our long term fleet strategy. We are looking forward to starting direct services to Los Angeles, as well as increasing our flying to South America. This is the aircraft to do that,” James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said in a statement.
The Boeing 777-200 LR, of which less than 60 were manufactured, will allow the airline to connect almost any city in the world from its hub in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways said.
At 2013 list price, each Boeing 777-200 LR costs $296 million (Rs.1,835 crore).