International Airlines Group has signed an memorandum of understanding to order 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft and take an additional 18 options on the type as it revamps its long-haul fleet.
The aircraft are to be operated by British Airways and, in combination with 42 Boeing 787s on firm order, will replace 30 Boeing 747s between 2017 and 2023.
The order for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered aircraft includes the engine manufacturer's Total Care maintenance package.
"The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet," says IAG chief Willie Walsh. "Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably."
The order is subject to approval by IAG shareholders.
For Iberia, IAG has reached agreement with Airbus as well as Boeing to secure commercial terms and delivery slots that could lead to firm orders for A350s, 787s or both. "Firm orders will only be made when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base," adds IAG.