TAP Portugal has signed a firm contract for 12 A350XWBs, plus three options, and a letter of intent for an additional eight A320 Family aircraft. The Lisbon based airline herewith converts its initial order for the A350, placed in December 2005, into the new A350XWB, and has, simultaneously, increased the number of aircraft ordered, from 10 to 12. At the same time TAP is taking delivery of its first directly owned A330-200.
In announcing the transaction, TAP's Chief Executive Officer, Fernando Pinto, said: "We have thoroughly re-evaluated our initial A350 order and the result clearly demonstrated that the XWB is the winner in all areas. This aircraft will meet TAP's requirements to cater for passenger traffic growth across the Atlantic and our plans to serve further destinations. The A350XWB offers outstanding passenger comfort thanks to its wider cabin, and unmatched operating costs, fuel consumption and environmental friendliness. The further additional A320s is a natural choice for our expansion plans, as the A320s perfectly fit our need for efficient single aisle aircraft offering the best possible comfort for our passengers".
"We are particularly honoured by this renewed mark of confidence from TAP, one of Europe's major airlines. This order is also a further endorsement of the new A350XWB programme. "Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, John Leahy said. "I am confident the A350XWB will deliver on its promises and that it will be the right aircraft to accompany TAP's future growth strategy, together with our market leading A320 Family aircraft."
TAP currently operates a fleet of 51 Airbus aircraft, including 17 A319s, 15 A320s, three A321s, four A340-300s, five A310-300s and seven A330-200s, and is Airbus' largest customer in Portugal. The A350XWBs will in time replace the A340-300 and A330-200 fleet, and support TAP's network expansion.
The A350XWB (extra wide-body) is Airbus' response to market demand for a medium capacity long range wide-body family available in three basic passenger versions, the A350-800 which can fly 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 which is designed for 350.
The A350XWB will benefit from the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort in this market segment. It will also offer the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in that category. The Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns in that market segment.
With TAP's order, total firm orders for the A350 XWB programme stand at 288 aircraft.
Airbus is an EADS company.
Note to editors
TAP Portugal is the Portuguese leading airline, member of Star Alliance since March 14, 2005, the same day on which the company also celebrated its 60th anniversary. Its hub in Lisbon is a key European gateway at the crossroads of Africa, North & South America, where TAP stands out as the leading carrier in operation to Brazil, with 60 frequencies a week. Currently, TAP network comprises 57 destinations in 25 countries worldwide. TAP operates over 1,600 weekly flights in average on a modern fleet of 51 Airbus aircraft, to which add some more 16 aircraft servicing PGA, recently acquired. Globally, the Company's current fleet now comprises 67 aircraft. Pursuing its customer focused orientation, TAP continuously invests in innovation and new technologies, whose potentialities add to deliver safe, reliable and upgraded product & services tailored to meet customers' expectations.