Virgin America has announced a firm order for 18 Airbus aircraft, including 11 A319s and seven A320s. In addition, Virgin America will lease 15 A320 Family aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). All 33 aircraft will be used to launch and sustain service of Virgin America, a US-based, low-fare airline. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2005. All the aircraft, purchased and leased, will be powered by engines from CFM International, a GE company based in Ohio.

“This is the type of economic boost the U.S economy needs,” said Fred Reid, who is leading the formation of the future carrier. Reid joined Virgin in April from Delta Air Lines where he was President and Chief Operating Officer. “The wider bodies of the A320 Family, their modern design, lighting and climate control features will help us deliver that unique Virgin flair and outstanding customer experience travellers have come to expect from the Virgin brand.”

“The A320 Family has become the preferred choice of the new low-cost carriers,” said Noël Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer. “Offering our products’ comfort, economy and technology is a great way to attract passengers to a new airline.”

Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats with the latest state-of-the art technologies on the market. Airbus has delivered more than 3,500 aircraft to some 260 customers and operators world-wide, and boasts a healthy delivery backlog of some 1,400 aircraft, which, at current rates, represents close to five years of production. With an annual turnover of €19.2 billion in 2003, 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.