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IAG to order additional 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for British Airways news
04 April 2013

International Airlines Group would order another 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for British Airways, a move that comes as a boost for the problem-hit aircraft.

The $4 billion (2.6 billion) deal at catalogue prices, comes as an attempt by IAG to upgrade the fleet of planes at its UK subsidiary.

According to Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, his company could also purchase an undisclosed number of Dreamliners for Iberia, its loss-making Spanish carrier.

However, this would be only considered when Iberia had restructured and reduced its cost base and was in a position to grow profitably. Last month IAG announced 3,800 job losses at Iberia as it attempted to get a hold over losses of 1.7 million (1.5 million) a day.

The BA order follows in the wake of an already announced deal to buy 24 of the 787s for the UK airline.

According to analysts this would come as a huge boost to Boeing, after lithium-ion batteries on two aircraft overheated leading to the grounding of its entire fleet of Dreamliners in January.

Boeing is taking a hit estimated at $50 million a week in lost income and compensation payments to airlines.

Chief executive Jim McNerney, however, said last week that he expected the plane to be flying customers again ''sooner rather than later'' following test flights with a redesigned battery.

According to a statement by IAG, which owns the UK airline and Spain's flag carrier Iberia, the long-haul aircraft would replace some of British Airways' current fleet of Boeing 747-400s between 2017 and 2021.

Meanwhile, Boeing said it was confident the recent fix for the grounded jet's battery problems would work, and chief executive Jim McNerney urged regulators on 28 March to let the plane back into service.

Boeing has booked 42 Dreamliner orders so far this year, and currently has firm orders for 841 of the planes.

According to Boeing, it was close to concluding testing of a revamped battery system for the 787, which would then go to regulators for approval. Yesterday it said it was conducting a test flight of the 787 in Washington state for systems not related to the battery problems.

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IAG to order additional 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliners for British Airways