First step in fleet modernization
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), Saudi Arabia's national airline, has taken the delivery of its first Airbus A320 becoming the newest operator of the aircraft. The aircraft was acquired under a long term lease agreement with ALAFCO.
The A320 will be deployed on routes in the region, to Europe and to the Indian subcontinent, from Saudia's hub in Riyadh. Depending on configuration, the A320-200s, will seat between 120 and 132 passengers in two-classes. The aircraft are powered by CFM56 engines.
"The Airbus A320 is the right aircraft for our ambitious fleet modernization plan. The aircraft combines operational efficiency as well as cabin comfort for our customers, and will enable Saudia to meet the rising passenger demands and expectations", said His Excellency Engineer Khalid Al Molhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Saudia's A320 is the first to be equipped with high bandwidth in-flight entertainment system making it an option on all Airbus aircraft for the first time. This means that passengers can access to high speed interactive services such as full audio and video on demand.
"ALAFCO is proud to provide the first of 13 A320 aircraft entering into Saudia service on operating lease. ALAFCO has taken delivery of 10 A320-200 from Airbus so far in 2009," said Ahmad Alzabin, ALAFCO Chairman and CEO.
"Saudi Arabian Airlines becoming an operator of the A320 through its leased aircraft from ALAFCO underpins the A320 as the aircraft of choice not only with valued operators but also with leading lessors looking for attractive investment assets with strong residual values." said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers."
Saudia, placed an order directly with Airbus for 22 A320 aircraft at the Dubai International Airshow in November 2007. Significantly, the agreement marked the first time in over two decades that the airline had placed an order with Airbus. Previously, Saudi Arabian Airlines were the launch customer for the Airbus A300-600, which was delivered in 1984.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Around 6,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and more than 3,900 delivered to some 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world's best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.