Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Wednesday announced its intention to purchase five Boeing aircraft from Air India.
The Boeing 777-200 LRs, the longest range passenger aircraft in operation, are being acquired to support the company's accelerated network growth plan.
The two carriers signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) in Mumbai earlier this week, paving the way for the deal.
The Boeing 777-200 LRs will be used on the Etihad's new route between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles, which is scheduled to start June 1, 2014, the ailine announced.
Subject to approvals, the aircraft will be delivered to Etihad Airways from the beginning of 2014, with each aircraft re-fitted in a three-class cabin configuration consistent with similar aircraft in the Etihad Airways fleet.
The first aircraft is expected to enter service in April next year.
The purchase comes as Etihad Airways finalises details on a new fleet order to meet its organic growth and expansion requirements up to 2025, in line with its rolling network plan.
"The Boeing 777-200 LR is a fantastic addition, giving us extra reach immediately and complementing our long term fleet strategy,” James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said.
"We are looking forward to starting direct services to Los Angeles, as well as increasing our flying to South America. This is the aircraft to do that," he added.
The Boeing 777-200 LR, of which less than 60 were manufactured, has a distance range of 17,370 km, allowing it to connect almost any city in the world from Etihad Airways' hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport.