Flag-carrying airline British Airways has placed an order for 12 Airbus A380s and 24 Boeing 787 aircraft, with an option for a further seven Airbus planes and 18 Boeings.

The new aircraft, which will replace 34 of the carrier's long-haul fleet and be delivered between 2010 and 2014, will enable BA to increase its capacity by up to four per cent a year.

A key consideration in the order, BA said, was the fact that the new planes will be greener, quieter and more fuel efficient, with lower carbon emissions.

Willie Walsh, the airline's chief executive, described the purchase, which is BA's largest fleet order since 1998, as "exciting".

He added: "These aircraft set the gold standard when it comes to environmental performance in the key areas of CO2 emissions, local air quality and noise.

"They will contribute significantly to our target of improving fuel efficiency by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2025."

Mr Walsh claimed that the new aircraft are part of BA's commitment to provide its customers with the "best travel experience" following its recent investment in the Club World cabin and in-flight entertainment system.

Airport Parking - Pre-book your Airport Parking with Holiday Extras and save up to 60 per cent. We offer over 60 car parks at 27 UK Airports.