Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways on Tuesday purchased two
more A330-200 aircraft from manufacturer Airbus in a deal worth US$418m at
current list prices.
The two wide body aircraft, which have a range of up to 14,000
km, are due for delivery in January 2014 and April 2014. They will be
in a two-class configuration with 22 business class seats and 240 in
Etihad currently operates 16 A330-200s which service
destinations including Frankfurt, Brisbane, Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing and
Johannesburg. It also counts six Airbus A330-300s and two Airbus A330-200
freighters among its combined Airbus-Boeing fleet of 67 aircraft.
The airline has also converted seven of its previously
ordered Airbus A320s to the larger A321 model.
“The reliable and highly versatile Airbus A330-200 has been
an integral part of our global passenger and cargo success,” said CEO James
Hogan in a statement
“As our operations and network continue to grow in scale, we
feel the A330-200 is the right fleet type to expand with,” Hogan added.
In May this year, the state-owned airline cancelled seven orders
for Airbus’s wide body A350-100 model, pitched as a rival to US manufacturer Boeing’s
777. This followed an initial reduction by six of its orders for the plane in
December 2011. Etihad now has just 12 on order.
Airbus has suffered delays in delivering the aircraft as it
has looked to bolster its range and performance, with its scheduled due date
slipping from its initially slated 2014 delivery to sometime in 2017.
In its most recent third financial quarter Etihad posted a
19 percent increase in revenues to US$1.3bn, boosted by a 51 percent rise in
income from the airline’s substantial network of codeshare and airline partners.
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