Aer Lingus, Ireland's national carrier, has become the latest airline to place a firm order for the all-new A350 XWB. In its biggest ever acquisition for long-haul aircraft, the Irish airline has received shareholder approval to purchase six A350-900s, along with six additional A330-300s, confirming its earlier placed contract. This latest contract brings total firm orders for the A350 XWB to 362 from 22 customers.
Aer Lingus' new A350-900s will be deployed on the airline's growing long haul network to the United States and on other new long-range routes that are being considered for the future. The additional six new A330-300s will replace some of its earlier A330s, and will provide further growth opportunities in the short term until the first of the A350-900s are delivered. Both the A350-900s and the A330-300s will be in a two-class configuration, featuring Aer Lingus' new premier class product. The aircraft will join Aer Lingus' all Airbus fleet, currently comprising 32 A320 Family aircraft and nine A330s.
"The A350-900 fits well into our ambitious plans to expand existing routes and to open up new ones from our hub in Dublin. The new aircraft will fit in seamlessly with our all-Airbus fleet," said Aer Lingus Chief Executive Dermot Mannion.
"We are absolutely delighted Aer Lingus has chosen the A350-900 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 winning economics of the A330 Family is also further demonstrated by this commitment for more A330-300s" said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
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. 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.
With a true wide-body fuselage allowing very high comfort standards, the A330-300 is able to accommodate seat and class configurations to suit the diverse customer requirements. It has a range of up to 5,650 nm / 10,500 km with a full passenger load. Highly efficient and optimized for the medium - to extended range market, the A330-300 offers the best balance between range and cost. The A330-300 remains the most economic means of flying 300 or so passengers on medium range routes in true long haul comfort.
Airbus is an EADS company.