British Airways to Spend Billions on Boeing and Airbus

As part of a plan to overhaul its long-haul fleet, British Airways announced on Thursday that it will purchase 24 787 Dreamliner jets from Boeing and 12 double-decker A380 aircraft from Airbus. The deal, worth an estimated $8.2 billion, includes an option for an additional 7 A380s and an additional 12 787s.

British Airways’ decision marks the first time the airline has chosen Airbus for long-haul aircraft. The new planes will replace the airline’s aging fleet of 747s and 767s. Delivery of the new jets, however, won’t begin until 2010.

The Airbus A380s will serve locations in Asia, Australia, and South Africa. The Boeing 787s will be used for busy, shorter routes within Europe and the U.S. The new planes will be based at Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5, opening in March 2008.