British Airways (IAG) will start regular Boeing Co. (BA:US) 787 Dreamliner operations from Sept. 1 as it seeks to cut costs by introducing more fuel efficient planes.
The composite-plastic jet will be introduced on trips to Toronto that currently use Boeing 767s and 747 jumbos, London-based BA said in a statement. Flights to Newark Liberty, served by 767s and larger 777s, will follow a month later, it said.
BA’s first Dreamliner, a 787-8 configured to seat 214 people, landed at its London Heathrow hub around midday after a flight yesterday was delayed by unspecified operational issues. The airline plans to take delivery of eight of the Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc-powered twin-engine planes during the next year.
“The 787 will become a mainstay of the British Airways fleet,” Willie Walsh, chief executive officer parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, said today. Tickets for the Toronto and Newark flights, which require regulatory signoff, are on sale priced at 787 pounds ($1,203) return in premium economy and double that in business class.
The coming of the Dreamliners, which Walsh has said should burn 20 percent less fuel, is central to a 5 billion-pound fleet upgrade featuring extra 777 jets, BA’s first Airbus SAS A380s -- scheduled to arrive from July 4 -- and 18 Airbus A350-1000s.
The carrier expects to receive eight 787-8s and 16 larger 787-9s by 2017, followed by 12 of the biggest 787-10s, which Boeing committed to produce only this month at the Paris Air Show with first deliveries in 2018. IAG has also signed up for six further Dreamliners for BA with the variants unspecified, and said April 4 it has delivery slots for future Iberia needs.
British Airways raised $927 million on June 25 via its first aircraft-backed bond issue, using six 787s, two 777-300ERs and six Airbus A320s due for delivery this year or next as collateral. Chief Financial Officer Enrique Dupuy said yesterday the fundraising represented a “strategic milestone.”
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