Air France has placed a firm order for three A318 single-aisle aircraft. Powered by CFM International CFM56 engines, the Air France A318s will seat up to 123 passengers in a single-class layout. Deliveries of these aircraft, which will be operated to medium-haul destinations in metropolitan France and Europe, will begin in 2006.
Air France was the A318 launch airline in April 1999 when it placed an order for 15 of the smallest single-aisle airliners of the Airbus family. With this additional order, the French carrier is completing its fleet modernisation and rationalisation programme.
Air France, was the first airline in the world to operate the four types of aircraft in the single-aisle family, and already has a fleet of almost 170 Airbus aircraft, including 133 of the A320 family.
"We have been successfully operating the A318s for several years now. These single-aisle airliners have fully demonstrated their commercial and operational capability both within the A320 family and on our medium-haul network with great efficiency and flexibility", said Jean-Cyril Spinetta, CEO of Air France.
"I am convinced of the exceptional efficiency of our aircraft and that their operational reliability will contribute still further to reinforcing Air France's position in Europe and throughout the world", declared Gustav Humbert, President and CEO of Airbus.
The A318, and all the members of this family, are based on the same A320 basic model and cover the 100- to 200-seater market segment. These aircraft can be operated, therefore by the same pilots and cabin crews and maintained by the same maintenance teams, thus contributing to significantly reducing operating costs. The A320 family aircraft have an optimised cabin cross section providing unequalled comfort. The Airbus single-aisle family is thus recognized as the aircraft series of choice of both established airlines and low-cost carriers, as well as passengers.
With more than 3,600 Airbus single-aisle aircraft ordered and more than 2,500 delivered today, the A320 family is without doubt the airliner programme which has notched up the greatest success ever. The A320 family has more than 160 customers and operators to its credit.
Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.