Aircalin Becomes New Airbus A320 Operator

9 February 2004 Press Release

Air Caledonie International has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320, becoming a new operator of the type. It plans to use it on flights from its base in Noumea, New Caledonia, to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.

Aircalin?s A320 seats eight passengers in business class and 138 in economy, and is powered by International Aero Engines V2500s.

The airline already flies two Airbus A330-200s, and the addition of the A320 makes it an all-Airbus operator.

?Our passengers benefit from the reliable and comfortable service that our modern all-Airbus fleet provides, while we benefit from greater economy and the commonality between the A320 and A330,? says Aircalin Chief Executive Officer Jean-Michel Masson

Airbus aircraft have enjoyed considerable success in the Pacific in recent years, with all of the major "flag carriers" choosing them for their fleet modernisations. In the region, Airbus? A330 and A340 have already become the aircraft of choice in the 250-375 seat class, while the A320 family is well on the way to becoming so in the single-aisle field.

Aircalin faces the challenge of providing frequent and reliable services throughout the south Pacfic "a service on which New Caledonia?s tourism and economy depends" with only a small fleet, and we are delighted that Airbus aircraft are helping it to succeed,? says Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Noël Forgeard.

Airbus? A320 Family features the most modern design of any single-aisle aircraft, with the widest and most comfortable cabin, excellent economy, and extensive commonality with other Airbus aircraft. It also has the range to fly long-sectors, low maintenance costs, and a proven worth as an excellent financial investment. These features make the A320 family a firm favourite with passengers, as independent surveys show, as well as a leader in financial and operator polls.

Firm orders for the best-selling A320 family now stand at more than 3,000, over 2,000 of which have been delivered, with some 140 customers and operators.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.