Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY
British Airways' parent company announced Wednesday it would order 18 additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a decision Reuters described as "show of confidence in the aircraft that has been grounded since January because of battery problems."
The order by the International Airlines Group (IAG) would be in addition to an order for 24 Dreamliners already on the books for British Airways.
Additionally, Bloomberg News added IAG indicated there's a chance for more 787 purchases by the company's Iberia unit, which has historically been a strong customer for Boeing rival Airbus.
As for Wednesday's order, Bloomberg explains BA "is exercising existing options for 787s for delivery from 2017 through 2021 to phase out (some of its) Boeing 747-400s."
Jon Ostrower of The Wall Street Journal notes British Airways did not specify in its latest order exactly which model of the Dreamliner it intends to take. That, Ostrower writes, "leaves open the possibility that British Airways would be the launch customer for a third Dreamliner model, dubbed the 787-10X, that is being discussed with potential customers."
That model would seat around 320 passengers, which would put it in the same capacity range of the 747-400s that BA will phase out, according to Ostrower.
As for Iberia's potential to order Dreamliners, the Financial Times writes " IAG said it could be willing to purchase an undisclosed number of Dreamliners for Iberia, its loss-making Spanish subsidiary, but only when the airline has restructured."
"Firm orders will only be made when Iberia has restructured and reduced its cost base and is in a position to grow profitably," IAG says in a regulatory filing quoted by AFP.