BA's 777-300ER acquisition does not rule out A350: Walsh

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British Airways is still considering the Airbus A350 XWB as part of its 'big twin' fleet evaluation, stressing that its Boeing 777-300ER acquisition is not a pre-emptive decision.

The flag-carrier is purchasing two 777-300ERs and leasing four others as a bridging arrangement following delays to the Boeing 787 programme. BA also has options to lease another four.

Speaking to ATI, British Airways chief Willie Walsh said that the 777-300ER is a potential replacement for its 747-400s but insisted that the acquisition did not signal a longer-term preference over the A350 in the airline's evaluation process.

At a briefing in London today, where Walsh was reiterating his support for a third London Heathrow runway, he told ATI that the carrier was "still looking at" the A350.

He adds that the airline expects to reach a decision towards the end of the year.

Walsh says that the airline has secured financing for the 777-300ERs, but that any decision on firming the four optioned aircraft will depend on market developments.

ba a350 tim bicheno-brown/flight international 
 © Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flight International