Airbus has today delivered A320 manufacturing serial number 3000 (MSN3000) to Asia's largest low cost carrier, AirAsia. The official handover to Dato' Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia by Louis Gallois, Airbus President and CEO, and co-CEO of EADS, took place at a ceremony held at Airbus' new Henri Ziegler delivery centre in Toulouse, France.
The ceremony was attended by Dominique Perben, French Minister of Transport, along with Dato' Seri Chan Kong Choy, Minister of Transport Malaysia and Eric Bachelet, President and CEO of CFM International.
The delivery is part of AirAsia?s original order for 60 A320s in March 2005 and follows the airline's recent announcement for a firm order for an additional 50 A320s and a further 50 on option; making AirAsia a leading Airbus A320 customer with a total order of 150 A320 aircraft, plus 50 options.
Dato' Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia, said, "It is our honour to welcome the 3000th manufacturing serial number, which is the 51st aircraft entering into our growing fleet. We are very happy with the Airbus A320 and the aircraft has helped us tremendously in our efforts to boost efficiency, enhance reliability, reduce costs and provide higher service levels for our guests. The latest aircraft with a special livery featuring our cabin crew is one of the many facets of livery we are proud to own as it symbolises our superior service to our guests and our recognition of the tireless efforts and commitment put in by our dedicated team at AirAsia."
"Reaching MSN3000 is a significant milestone in the A320 Family production cycle and tangible proof of the immense popularity of Airbus' A320 Family", said Louis Gallois. "With 30 million flight cycles and 50 million flight hours already completed, the global A320 Family has set the standard for fly-by-wire aircraft across the air transport industry. Moreover, with its unbeatable economics and enormous passenger appeal, it has an outstanding backlog of some 1,966 aircraft. This confirms that the A320 Family will be in demand for many years to come," he added.
In order to keep up with the tremendous demand, Airbus plans to introduce a steady production ramp up from 30 to 32 aircraft per month and plans progressively to increase this to a rate of 36 by the end of 2008 - the highest production rate ever for any commercial airliner.
The A320 Family's optimised cabin cross-section - the widest single-aisle fuselage on the market - sets new standards for passenger cabin flexibility in this segment. It allows for top-of-the-range comfort with wider seats and aisles, or an extra-wide aisle for the fast turnarounds that are essential in the low-cost markets.
With more than 4,900 aircraft ordered and with 187 operators, the A318, A319, A320 and A321 make up the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. Designed to optimise revenue through cabin adaptability and passenger comfort and featuring the most modern and complete fly-by-wire technology available on any single-aisle aircraft, they ensure savings in every element of direct operating cost and provide operators with the highest degree of operational commonality and economy for aircraft in the 100-220 seat category.
The A320 Family's impressive level of dispatch reliability further enhances profitability and passenger service. In addition, the A320 Family is an environmentally responsible neighbour, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprints in its class.
The A320 entered airline service in April 1988 and rapidly established itself as the industry standard for passenger comfort and economy on short and medium-haul routes. Typically seating 150 passengers in two classes or up to 180 for low-cost operations, the A320 has a range of up to 5,700 km/3,000 nm. The A320 is in widespread service on five continents, flying routes that range from short European commuter sectors, through European charter operations to coast-to-coast US flights.
Airbus is an EADS company.