Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, has taken delivery of its first A319 at the Airbus delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany. This is the very first aircraft of the A320 Family ever delivered to Air China. The ferry flight will take the aircraft to Xiaoshan International Airport in the Chinese province of Zhejiang.

The A319, powered by V2500 engines from International Aero Engines, will offer a two-class layout, seating eight passengers in business class and 120 in economy class. The aircraft delivered today carries the serial number "2000" of the Airbus Single-Aisle Family. The A319 will join the fleet of Air China Zhejiang Subsidiary, formerly CNAC-Zhejiang, which operates eight Airbus aircraft.

"The A319 is an ideal aircraft for our short- and medium-haul operation in the economically prosperous region of East China," said Sun Yude, Vice President of Air China and President of Air China Zhejiang Subsidiary. "We will also benefit from A319's commonality with members of the Airbus Family, which will help us reduce training and maintenance costs. The modern aircraft will also offer high comfort to passengers with wider seats, aisle and overhead stowage."

Air China has a further seven A319 on order, with one to be delivered in both August and September, three in 2004 and the rest in 2005.

"China is a significant market for Airbus, and we are proud to see that Air China, the national flag carrier, has become a new operator of the A320 Family," said Airbus President & CEO Noël Forgeard. "Airbus attaches great importance to its relations with Air China, and the A319 provides a new opportunity to reinforce the ties between the two sides."

Air China's parent company China National Aviation Holding Company (CNAH), founded in October 2002, is one of the three largest airline groups in China. Air China is CNAH’s biggest civil aviation entity.

The A319s will mainly be operated on high-density routes linking Hangzhou and Wenzhou cities with Southern cities like Xiamen, Fuzhou and Guangzhou, Central and Western cities like Changsha, Chengdu and Chongqing and Northern cities such as Beijing, Dalian and Qingdao.

The A319 is a member of the A320 Family, which consists of the A318, A319, A320 and A321, the world's fastest selling single-aisle family.

Airbus business in China has been steadily expanding since it opened its first facility in the country in 1985. The Airbus fleet in service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown from 29 in 1995 to more than 190 today. The CASC/AIRBUS Customer Services Training and Support Centre, which represents a US$80 million investment by Airbus, is fully operational in Beijing. Four Chinese manufacturers are already involved in the manufacturing of Airbus parts, such as wing components, passenger doors and maintenance tools.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.