British Airways has ordered another 18 Dreamliners despite the aircraft still being grounded due to problems with its onboard batteries.
BA’s owner IAG said that it had converted 18 options for Boeing 787s into firm orders which will be used to replace some of BA’s current Boeing 747-400 fleet between 2017 and 2021.
The new order is on top of an existing agreement for BA to buy 24 Dreamliners - the first of which is due to be delivered in the next few weeks. BA has said that delivery of the first B787 is still expected in May although the company has admitted that it has drawn up contingency plans for any delays.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The aircraft offers a step change in fuel burn efficiency versus our existing aircraft with improvements in fuel cost per seat of more than 20 per cent. New technology engines and improved aerodynamics will lower fuel burn leading to reduced carbon and NOx emissions.
“The creation of IAG has resulted in greater buying power for both airlines through joint procurement and we have been able to obtain delivery slots for Iberia as part of British Airways' order.”
All 50 Dreamliners currently in service have been grounded since January after problems with the batteries catching fire. Boeing plans to hold test flights to test a new design for the battery “in the coming days”.