International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, has signed an agreement with Boeing committing to purchasing up to 42 777X aircraft, which included 18 orders and 24 options.
According to Boeing, the commitment is valued at up to $18.6bn at list prices and will be reflected in the company’s Orders and Deliveries website once concluded.
The development is the latest step by British Airways in modernizing its fleet. Over the past few years, the airline has inducted the 787 Dreamliner family into fleets to replace its medium-sized wide-body jets
The new 777-9 will replace the airline’s larger wide-body aeroplanes, particularly its four-engine 747 jumbo jets.
Commenting on the commitment, Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, shared: "The new 777-9 is the world's most fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways' fleet. It's the ideal replacement for the 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline's existing network.
"This aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30% compared to the 747. It also provides an enhanced passenger experience."
By selecting the 777X, IAG and British Airways have increased the number of orders for the aircraft up to 358 orders and the number of commitments up to eight. Boeing previously reported that the first delivery of the 777X, which kicked off its production back in 2017, is expected for 2020.
Kevin McAllister, president & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: "British Airways is one of the most iconic international carriers, now in its 100th year of connecting the world with its impressive route network.
“We are honoured that British Airways has selected the 777X as part of its fleet for its next century. Together with the 787 Dreamliner, we are excited for the 777X to help British Airways build on its incredible legacy.
"The 777-9, in particular, simply has no competitor in its class when it comes to efficiency and performance. It is the right-sized aeroplane for British Airways to efficiently serve long-range routes with heavy passenger demand,” he added.