Taiwan's EVA Air is to acquire significantly more Boeing 777-300ERs than originally planned, ending efforts by Airbus to have an order for seven long-range 777s overturned in favour of the rival A340-500/600.

Industry sources say EVA has, after a year of studies, decided to acquire eight more 777-300ERs than originally planned. Boeing's official order backlog shows an order for eight 777-300ERs was placed by an undisclosed customer on 31 December.

EVA denies it placed any such order with the manufacturer. It often acquires new aircraft on a mix of lease and purchase arrangements, however.

Early last year the carrier began reconsidering its commitment to the long-range 777 variants as it was unhappy being the only launch customer for the smaller -200LR. It placed firm orders for three -200LRs and four larger -300ERs, and took options on eight more, in mid-2000.

It is unclear whether EVA will maintain its original order for -200LRs. It is one of only two customers for the smaller variant, following a recent order from Pakistan International Airlines.

Airbus has been trying to kill off EVA's 777 order for more than a year. In mid-2002 it tabled an offer to EVA for 15 A340-500/600s, some of which would be acquired by leasing companies on the airline's behalf.

Boeing also put an offer to the airline for the eight 777 options to be firmed up at more favourable prices.


Source: Flight International