BA continuing to study 'big twin' replacement for 747s

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Although British Airways has slashed capacity in recent months in the wake of the global downturn, it is continuing with plans to introduce four Boeing 777-300ERs from later this year.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, speaking to ATI in London this week, added that the carrier was also still "actively looking" at larger twin-engined aircraft.

"We continue to look at the [Airbus] A350-1000 and Boeing's proposed 777 developments," he says, but adds that it is still "early days" in the evaluation.

When BA disclosed a deal for Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s in September 2007, it said it was not ready to select a 'big twin' to replace the bulk of its 747-400s, owing to a lack of "sufficient clarity" from Airbus and Boeing on their offerings.

BA is due to begin receiving 12 A380s in 2013, and these will replace part of the airline's 747-400 fleet which totals 57 aircraft.

Walsh says that the 747s are due to be retired by around 2018.