The French Air Force took delivery today of the first of two Airbus Corporate Jetliners (ACJ) it ordered in 2001. The hand-over ceremony took place at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France. The ACJs will be used for the transport of government officials.

The French Air Force ACJs can seat around 50 passengers, and have a range of up to 10,000 km - enough to fly non-stop from Paris to Africa, the West Indies, India or the US East Coast, at a very competitive operational cost. These ACJs will in fact be the first two fly-by-wire French Air Force civilian aircraft, offering a very high level of commonality with the Airbus ultra-long-range four engines A340 Family of aircraft.

Airbus was chosen as the result of a comprehensive competitive tender, as laid out in the "Code des March├ęs Publics," which governs purchasing by the French Government. The ACJ was chosen because it offered the best combination of quality, comfort and price.

The French Air Force ACJs will be powered by CFM International CFM56-5B7P engines, a joint venture between General Electric and French motorist SNECMA, each rated at a thrust of 27,000 lb.

The French Air Force, on behalf of the French State, is the second government organisation in Europe to select the ACJ, two being already in service with the Italian Government. The State of Venezuela also recently ordered an ACJ for governmental transportation. This clearly demonstrates how the ACJ increasingly becomes the international reference aircraft for government transport, thanks to its range performances and lower operational costs.

Derived directly from the A319 airliner, the ACJ features the widest and most comfortable cabin in its class, the best investment value, and a comprehensive avionics suite that makes it the only business jet with Category 3B automatic landing capability.

The ACJ is also part of the world's most modern and successful airliner family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, of which some 2,700 have been sold to over 100 customers and operators.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as fully owned subsidiaries in the United States, China and Japan. Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE SYSTEMS.