Etihad Airways stole the show with its massive, $7 billion, order for Airbus widebodies.

Although a major deal by the carrier had been anticipated, the inclusion of a commitment for four A380s for delivery from 2007 was a surprise as Etihad had previously indicated it had no plans to acquire the 550-seater.

The Abu Dhabi carrier, which only launched operations last year, will also take four A340-500s from 2006, four A340-600s from 2007 and 12 A330-200s from 2006.

While the eight A340-500/600s will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500s, engines for the other 16 aircraft have yet to be decided. However, Etihad has already opted to fit Rolls-Royce Trent 700s on a pair of A330s, which the carrier is leasing next year.

Source: Flight International