Oman Air is defecting to Rolls-Royce to power the Boeing 787-8s that the Middle Eastern carrier is taking from Kuwaiti lessor ALAFCO, having previously indicated the twinjets would have General Electric GEnx engines.
The airline has agreed to take over orders for six 787s originally held by ALAFCO, the second carrier in the region to lift a batch of 787s away from the lessor after eight were transferred to Saudi Arabian Airlines last year.
ALAFCO ordered a total of 22 787-8s in 2006-07 under a plan which would have seen a number of them leased to Kuwait Airways. It subsequently opted to fit GEnx engines to the entire fleet.
But the Kuwait Airways fleet-renewal plan collapsed in 2007, leaving ALAFCO with the 787s. Shortly afterwards, Oman Air agreed to lease six of the twinjets and said that they would have GEnx engines, in line with ALAFCO's powerplant selection.
Oman Air's long-haul plans, however, also included ordering the Airbus A330 and in 2008 the carrier opted to fit these with Rolls-Royce Trent 700s.
At the Dubai air show Oman Air disclosed the transfer of the 787s from ALAFCO and Rolls-Royce confirmed it would be supplying Trent 1000 engines for the six aircraft.
"Our decision to order the 787-8 is part of Oman Air's long-term growth strategy to expand and modernise our fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft," said chief executive Peter Hill.
It becomes the first Middle Eastern carrier to take the Trent 1000.
With the Oman Air and Saudi Arabian transfers, ALAFCO will cut its 787 backlog from 22 to just eight airframes.
In contrast, ALAFCO has been increasing its orders for the Airbus A350-900, and has a total of 18 in its backlog. The A350-900 is only available with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.