The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today confirmed announcements that Blue Panorama of Italy and First Choice Airways of the United Kingdom have selected the 7E7 Dreamliner to replace and expand their existing airplane fleets. These two carriers are the first in Europe to choose the 7E7, the world's newest, most advanced commercial jetliner.
In separate press conferences in Rome and London , the carriers announced plans to acquire a total of 10 7E7s, valued at $1.2 billion at list prices. Blue Panorama will add four 7E7s to its fleet at a value of $500 million and First Choice will receive six 7E7s. Contract negotiations are expected to conclude later this year. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2009.
"Today's announcements are ringing endorsements of the 7E7's broad appeal across a spectrum of airlines," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Europe , Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 7E7 has the versatility and flexibility that allows airlines that offer scheduled or leisure service, or a mix of both, to adapt to their own evolving business models and to the dynamic demands of the market."
Both carriers have selected the 7E7-8 model, with a range of 15,700 kilometers. This is 4,000 kilometers farther than today's similar-sized airplanes, which will allow 7E7 operators to economically connect hundreds of new destinations for world travelers.
Blue Panorama and First Choice are in the process of evaluating their engine options, which include the General Electric GENX (GE Next Generation) and Rolls-Royce's Trent 1000.
As these airlines join the launch team, they will be the first in Europe to benefit from the advanced economics, improved fuel efficiency and reduced noise of the 7E7. They will be the first to offer passengers a new, more comfortable flying experience, in cabins with larger windows, wider seats and wider aisles.
"Blue Panorama and First Choice will have a clear, competitive advantage over carriers operating more conventional aircraft," Dailey said
The Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner is being designed with airlines, passengers, investors and the environment in mind. The technologically advanced airplane will use 20 percent less fuel than today's airplanes of comparable size, provide customers with up to 60 percent more cargo revenue capacity, and present passengers with innovations including a new interior environment with higher humidity.
Boeing launched the 7E7 Dreamliner last April when it announced an order for 50 7E7s from Japanese carrier ANA, followed by an announcement by Air New Zealand for two 7E7s. Boeing has proposal acceptances out to more than two dozen airlines around the world and expects additional orders in the coming months.
Blue Panorama, headquartered in Rome , started operations in 1998. This privately-owned, all-Boeing operator currently flies five 737-400s and three 767-300ERs and will take delivery of a fourth 767-300ER in December. This year Blue Panorama expects to carry nearly 900,000 passengers on its charter and scheduled network extending across the Mediterranean , the Middle and Far East , Central America and the Caribbean . Over 70 percent of its long-haul operations are scheduled flights.
First Choice Airways, based in the UK and previously known as Air 2000, is part of the Mainstream Holidays division of First Choice Holidays PLC, incorporating some of the largest brands in the UK travel industry. Other companies in the division include tour-operating brands such as First Choice Holidays, Unijet, 2wentys, Eclipse Direct, Falcon and JWT. In April 2004, the company, which focuses on offering its passengers a differentiated product, redefined the standards of long-haul charter flights by becoming the first European carrier to install the Boeing Enhanced 777 Interior in its 767 fleet.
The 7E7 is a family of airplanes in the 200- to 300-seat class that will carry passengers on routes between 6,500 to 16,000 kilometers (3,500 and 8,500 nautical miles). The 7E7 will allow airlines to offer passengers more of what they want: affordable, comfortable, non-stop, point-to-point travel to more destinations around the world. In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 7E7 will fly at Mach 0.85, as fast as today's fastest commercial airplanes, while using much less fuel. Also, for the first time in commercial jet history, the 7E7 family will offer a standard engine interface for the two types of engines to be offered on the airplane, the General Electric GENX (GE Next Generation) or Rolls Royce's Trent 1000, allowing the 7E7 to be fitted with either manufacturer's engines at any point in time. Production of the Dreamliner will begin in 2006. First flight is expected in 2007, with certification, delivery and entry into service in 2008.
Certain statements in this release may constitute "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "expects," "intends," "plans," "projects," "believes," "estimates," and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to, our expectations regarding the market, orders and completion of development and manufacture of the 7E7. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions as to future events that may not prove to be accurate. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. As a result, these statements speak only as of the date they were made and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Our actual results and future trends may differ materially depending on a variety of factors including our successful execution of development and manufacturing plans, the actual outcomes of certain pending sales campaigns, U.S. and foreign government procurement activities; unanticipated financial market changes, international competition in the commercial areas; performance issues with key suppliers, subcontractors and customers; factors that could result in significant and prolonged disruption to air travel worldwide (including future terrorist attacks); worldwide political stability; domestic and international economic conditions; legal, financial and governmental risks related to international transactions; legal proceedings; and other economic, political and technological risks and uncertainties. Additional information regarding risk factors is contained in our SEC filings, including, without limitation, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003.