“Based on what I have seen, it is almost inevitable that that is an aircraft that we will have in our fleet at some stage, whether that is something we would decide on now or at a later stage,” Walsh says.
It makes sense for the group to operate different types of aircraft, he notes, given the variety of missions that are needed. In addition to the Iberia A340s, IAG must replace 46 Boeing 777-200ERs at BA.
Walsh is pleased with the performance of the 777-300ERs BA has integrated at a relatively late stage, saying, “if I'm honest, the regret I have is that we did not get the 777-300ERs earlier.” BA is operating the -300ER in a 297-seat configuration; its 747-400s only have two additional seats.
On the other hand, Walsh believes that “as good an aircraft as the 777 is, it is going to be overtaken by the next generation of aircraft, the A350-1000, the 777-9X or versions of the 787.” And IAG clearly intends to be among the early operators of those.