British Airways has this evening confirmed that it has converted 18 of its 28 options for Boeing 787 aircraft into firm orders for delivery between 2017 and 2021. The airline currently has 24 Boeing 787 aircraft on order for delivery from this year and this takes the total number of 787s to be delivered to BA to 42, meaning that the 787 will represent a substantial part of BA’s long-haul fleet. This is a clear vote of confidence by BA in the 787.
It is not yet clear whether the additional deliveries will be to replace existing aircraft or for growth at the airline’s Heathrow base. The 787 is an obvious candidate to replace BA’s fleet of 14 long-haul 767 aircraft, but a much less obvious replacement for the airline’s Boeing 747-400 fleet and older Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
BA has also indicated that it has reached commercial terms for possible deliveries of the 787 to BA’s troubled sibling Iberia. It is not clear whether this means that the remaining 10 BA 787 options will be acquired by Iberia, or could be a new order for Iberia’s all Airbus long-haul fleet.