Skybus, a new low-cost/low-fare airline based in Columbus, Ohio, has signed a firm contract for the purchase of 65 Airbus A319 aircraft. In terms of number of Airbus aircraft, this is among the largest single orders ever by a U.S. carrier. The airline has not yet announced its engine selection for the single-aisle aircraft. Each of the Skybus A319s will accommodate passengers in a single-class configuration. The number of seats and specific route structure remains confidential while the airline gears up to enter service in early 2007. The airline will initially operate leased A319s as it begins non-stop service from its home base in Columbus, while building its all-Airbus fleet. ?The significantly lower cost base delivered by operating the A319 will enable Skybus to deliver really low fares to our customers at our headquarters in Columbus,? said Skybus Chief Executive Officer Bill Diffenderffer. ?We believe the low costs and reliability of the A319, coupled with our low fares, will make for an unbeatable partnership as we grow our business and offer more low-fare destinations. We?ve carried out extensive research to ensure this aircraft can deliver our goal ? really low fares and reliable service.? ?It is exciting to get in on the ground floor of such a promising operation as Skybus,? said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. ?It has been a few years since an order of this meaning and magnitude has come from a low-cost start-up airline, and we are professionally flattered that Skybus has turned to the A319 as the core of its fleet. It?s a true testament to the airline?s confidence in our product and our people.? The A319 programme was launched in 1993 with the first aircraft entering service in 1996. It is the third derivative in the ever-popular A320 Family. Firm orders for the A320 Family - consisting of the 107-seat A318, 124-seat A319, 150-seat A320 and 185-seat A321 - currently stand at more than 4,500 aircraft from 166 customers. Airbus is an EADS company.