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Thu, Jan 31, 2008

Airbus Collects Two New Narrowbody Orders

Approaches 6,000-Sales Mark For A320 Family

They aren't the biggest orders Airbus has collected for its A320 Family of jets... but they're noteworthy just the same. On Wednesday, the European planemaker announced two new deals for the popular narrowbody aircraft, totaling 10 planes between them.

Atlantic Airways, flag carrier of the Faroe Islands and based in Sorvagur, signed a firm contract for one Airbus A319 plus one option -- making the airline a new Airbus customer. Also on Wednesday, NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH announced a follow-on order for nine additional A320 Family aircraft, which will raise NIKI's fleet to 20 A320-type planes.

"We are very pleased to have selected the Airbus A319. We have considered several good alternatives in our selection process, but in the end we found Airbus to have the overall best solution for us", said Magni Arge, Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Airways. "Selection of this aircraft gives us the best possibility of running a viable operation on the existing short runway and also take the benefits from an extended runway on the Faroe Islands which we hope to have in place in 2011."

Atlantic Airways' Airbus A319s will feature single-class cabin layout. The aircraft will be operated on the airlines' network between the Faroes and Denmark as well as to other growth destinations in Europe.

"I am delighted to welcome Atlantic Airways as a new customer for the A319," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. "The A320 Family is undoubtedly the world's favorite single-aisle aircraft which features highest passenger appeal combined with the lowest operating costs and lowest fuel burn, making it extremely eco-efficient."

Airbus said NIKI, a Vienna-based low cost carrier, will employ its new Airbus jets on routes to European cities and holiday destinations. The airline, founded in 2003, operates in partnership with Air Berlin -- a major Airbus customer.

"We placed this additional order after four years of successful Airbus aircraft operations. The additional A320 Family aircraft will substantially increase our low-cost services out of Vienna", says Niki Lauda, President of NIKI. "The Airbus aircraft underpins our strategic objectives on quality, operational economics and comfort. Extra comfort levels are guaranteed through the new Airbus cabin, enhancing customer satisfaction. That is our top priority."

"We are extremely pleased that NIKI further confirms its confidence in the A320 Family as the best aircraft for their successful daily operations," Leahy added. "NIKI was the first to fly the enhanced Airbus A320 cabin, which makes the aircraft even quieter, brighter and more spacious. The Austrian airline is flying the world's most comfortable and eco-efficient short to medium haul aircraft."

The A320 continues to chip away at the sales lead Boeing proclaims for its 737 narrowbody family. As of December 2007, Airbus claimed 5,847 orders for the narrowbody plane, which first entered service in 1988. Boeing claims over 7,600 orders over the 40-year life of the 737 program.



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