BA 'might' order the 777X: Williams

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British Airways chief executive Keith Williams has left open the possibility that the UK carrier could replace its fleet of Boeing 777s with the newly launched 777X over the next decade.

Asked if the new variant could replace BA’s 54 777s, Williams says: "We might do. In the short term, if you look at BA, we’ve got the orders of the 787s and then we’ve got the A350s, so we’ve got a big fleet-replacement programme for the 747 and the 767 aircraft. If you look forward out to the next decade, by that stage we will need a replacement for the 777 aircraft, so we obviously will look at the options all the time to replace those aircraft. So, we will look at the position then."

Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows that BA has 46 Boeing 777-200s – 43 of which are extended-range variants – and eight 777-300ERs. An additional two 777-300ERs are on order and due for delivery next year.

The airline is gradually replacing its 747 and 767 fleets with new 787s, Airbus A380s and A350s over the coming decade.

Over the summer and autumn, BA has taken delivery of three of 12 A380s on order and the first four of 24 Boeing 787s, says Williams, adding he is "proud to be first European airline to operate both aircraft types".

Williams says he has "real confidence" the 787 will be a success story for Boeing and for British Airways, and will become a "mainstay" of the long-haul fleet.

"If the A380 is about capacity options at a slot-constrained airport like Heathrow or the other end of the route, our second new aircraft, the 787, is about achieving new levels of operational efficiency and therefore opening route or frequency options that were previously not possible," he says.