North African airline Tunisair, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, has signed a firm contract with Airbus for the acquisition of three A350-800s, three A330-200s and ten A320s, as part of an important fleet development plan that will modernise and expand the fleet of this growing airline. With this acquisition, that follows an initial agreement announced last April, Tunisair is the third African airline to order the all-new A350 XWB. Tunisair currently already has 12 A320s, four A319s, and three A300-600s in operation.
The all-new, eco-efficient A350s will provide the right aircraft at the right time for the long-term development plans of Tunisair for long haul routes to North America and Asia. Meanwhile, the A330s will allow the airline to modernize its wide-body fleet and seamlessly enter the long haul market, shortly opening new routes to North America with the most modern and cost efficient aircraft available today. Furthermore, the A320s will allow Tunisair to renew and expand its regional operations with more efficient and cost effective aircraft complementing its current fleet.
"With this firm order, Tunisair underlines its positive business outlook and can now start putting its plans into action and prepare for the future, both nearer and further out, with the right aircraft," said Mr. Chettaoui, President and CEO of Tunisair group. "The A330s and later on the A350 will really allow us to develop our long haul market, while our A320 fleet, which is already performing extremely well, will be further expanded. And with these products, our customers will be benefiting from the most efficient and comfortable aircraft in the market today", he continued.
"We are very proud of this renewed trust from Tunisair, which shows the value and strength of the Airbus Family concept, bringing operational commonality into their fleet and allowing for important cost savings and fleet efficiency," said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. "Tunisair was one of our first customers. It has accompanied Airbus since its early days and grown with us. We are very happy to further strengthen our close ties well into the future", he added.
The longstanding relationship started in 1980, when Tunisair placed its first order for an Airbus A300B4. It has built up its Airbus fleet, with the first A320 order placed in 1988, one of the first orders for the type in Africa. In another pioneering move, with the order in 2006 for the A319 Extended-Range, Tunisair was the first airline to start operating this aircraft type in Africa, benefiting from Airbus' continuous efforts for innovation and technological advancements.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is Airbus' response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800 accommodating 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 for 350 passengers in a typical three-class layout. The A350 has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines delivering each up to 92,000 lbs of thrust, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns. Orders for the aircraft stand at more than 350 from over 20 customers.
With a true wide-body fuselage allowing very high comfort standards, the A330-200 is able to accommodate seat and class configurations to suit the diverse customer requirements. It has a range of up to 6,750 nm / 12,500 km with a full passenger load. Its large under-floor cargo holds can also carry standard pallets and containers side-by-side. It also has the excellent operational flexibility necessary to serve a wide range of route structures, providing operators with very low operating cost per seat. Its proven record of economy and superior passenger comfort provides operators with a significant competitive advantage in the market today.
Orders for the aircraft stand at more than 500.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Around 6,200 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and more than 3,500 delivered to some 280 customers and operators worldwide, making it the worlds best selling commercial jetliner ever.
Airbus is an EADS Company.