Key Points:

  • European airline group, IAG, engages in talks with Airbus and Boeing for a possible widebody aircraft order.

  • British Airways, an IAG unit, is considering replacing its older 777s, potentially leading to an order of 20 or more aircraft.

  • The renewal push comes as the aviation industry witnesses a resurgence in long-haul traffic following the pandemic's impact.

Potential Order Focuses on Replacing Aging 777s from British Airways' Fleet

LONDON — The European airline conglomerate, IAG, is reportedly in active discussions with aviation giants Airbus and Boeing. These discussions revolve around a potential widebody aircraft order, aiming to replace the aging fleet components of its British Airways unit. According to insiders who chose to remain anonymous, the discussions might lead to an order of more than 20 aircraft.

Current Fleet Overview and Manufacturers' Presence

The direction of the order remains unpredictable, given both Airbus and Boeing have a notable presence in the airline's current widebody collection. A glance at the British Airways website indicates the operation of nearly 60 Boeing 777s and 37 of the advanced 787 Dreamliner models. Additionally, the airline has incorporated around 13 Airbus A350s into its fleet. It's worth noting, however, that while negotiations are advancing, a definitive decision is not immediately expected.

Industry's Shift towards Fleet Renewal amid Recovery

The aviation landscape is witnessing an uptrend in airlines making decisive moves to rejuvenate their widebody fleets. This renewal wave comes as the industry starts to rebound from the staggering lows experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic's disruptions. British Airways, a dominant force in the high-yield North Atlantic routes, finds itself at a potential disadvantage, operating aircraft that are considerably older than some of its industry peers. On average, its fleet is approximately 14 years old, a stark contrast to the UK competitor, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., whose aircraft average half that age. Focusing on BA’s 777-200s, which constitute a significant portion of its long-haul fleet, they exhibit an even more pronounced age gap, averaging close to 24 years.

Both Airbus and Boeing, alongside representatives from IAG, have chosen to maintain discretion regarding the ongoing talks, declining any requests for comment.