Aer Lingus, Ireland's national carrier, has become the latest airline to select the all-new A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). In its biggest ever commitment for long-haul aircraft, the Irish airline has decided to purchase six A350 XWBs, along with six additional A330-300s.
Aer Lingus' new A350 XWBs will be deployed on the airline's growing long haul network to the United States and on other new routes and will replace some of their earlier A330s. The additional six new A330-300s will provide further growth opportunities in the short term until the first of the A350 XWBs are delivered. Both the A350 XWB and the A330-300s will be in a two class configuration featuring Aer Lingus' new premier class product.
"The A350 XWB fits in with our ambitious plans to expand existing routes and to open up new ones from our hub in Dublin. We already have an all Airbus fleet and the new aircraft will fit in seamlessly," said Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion when announcing the airline's decision.
"We are absolutely delighted Aer Lingus has chosen the A350 XWB to modernise and expand their Airbus fleet. It will not only bring Aer Lingus unbeatable operating costs but also offer their customers the cutting edge in passenger comfort. The A330s continued winning economics and design is re-enforced by the order" said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
Aer Lingus is an all Airbus carrier with a fleet of 30 A320 Family aircraft, with one further aircraft to come next year, and eight A330s, with a further A330 being delivered in the Summer of 2007.
The A350 XWB is Airbus' newest aircraft and will be the world's most technologically advanced, setting new standards in the 250-350 seat marketplace. It is designed to increase productivity, offer unparalleled levels of passenger comfort in its class whilst reducing operating costs. Addressing environmental concerns, the A350XWB will be one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft ever.
With up to 60 per cent of weight-saving using the most advanced materials, in the form of carbon fibre wings and composites, the Airbus A350XWB will be lighter per seat - and hence more economical. This design, together with centralised maintenance and extended check intervals, will also help to give the Airbus A350 XWB attractive maintenance costs.
The A330-300 enhanced model has extra range and offers excellent flexibility for a wide range of route structures, providing the operator with a very low operating cost per seat as well as the widest and most comfortable cabin in its class
Airbus is an EADS company.