British Airways may have finally found the replacement for their very old, held by duct tape, Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747-400s in their fleet.
Today, the International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, has signed an agreement with Boeing for up to 42 777X aircraft, for British Airways. The order consists of 18 firm orders and 24 options of the largest variant, the 777-9.
Boeing is currently preparing the first 777-9 aircraft for testing, which will be rolled out in March 2019. The plane, which will be the first to feature foldable wingtips, will take its maiden flight during the year.
With the 777-9, British Airways now will have a large set of Boeing widebodies in their fleet, including the 787 Dreamliner and 777s, apart from the Airbus A380s, and the A350-1000s on order. The 777X should be able to seat 400 to 425 passengers, which is similar to the capacity offered by the 747.
Here is the rationale the CEO of IAG stated for ordering the 777X,
The new 777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient longhaul aircraft and will bring many benefits to the British Airways fleet. It’s the ideal replacement for the 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network. This aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30 percent compared to the 747.
British Airways will configure the 777X aircraft with Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class, including their new Club World. The plane is expected to join the fleet from 2022 onwards.