The narrow-body planes will be delivered to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier by the end of 2008 as the company expands its network with new routes to Moscow and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Etihad currently operates four A320s that it mostly uses on short-haul, high-frequency routes in the Middle East. The new narrow-body planes will enable the carrier to deploy larger planes on its new routes to Eastern Europe.

The airline already leases two A330s from CIT and has two additional A330-200s on order for delivery in early 2009.

The new aircraft will be powered by IAE V2527-A5 engines.