The deliveries of these aircraft to Etihad are likely to start around March-April next year, the sources said. Etihad has already announced plans to deploy them on long-haul routes like Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles from June next year.
Each of these planes would be re-fitted in a three-class configuration consistent with Etihad's fleet. The purchase comes as Etihad finalises a new fleet order to meet its organic growth and expansion requirements till 2025. The Boeing 777-200 LRs have a design range of 17,370 km, that could allow Etihad to connect almost any city in the world from its Abu Dhabi hub. Air India, saddled under huge debt, had put eight of these aircraft for sale, but as there were no takers earlier, it had to issue the tender twice.