Kingfisher Airlines, India’s new value-based carrier, has chosen Airbus’ A320 family to inaugurate services among major Indian cities. It has signed a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of four Airbus A320s from Airbus, and taken options on eight more. In addition, it is in negotiation with leasing companies for the lease of a further four A320s.

Deliveries of the leased aircraft will begin in the first quarter of 2005, while those of the new aircraft from Airbus will start in the last quarter of 2005.

All of the aircraft will seat 180 passengers in an all-economy layout. The choice of engines has yet to be made.

“We plan to have a ‘fly the good times’ approach to offering our passengers a unique on-board experience as well as value for money,” says Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of UB Group, one of India’s largest companies and the parent company of Kingfisher Airlines, “and the Airbus A320’s spacious cabin and attractive economics will be our key to delivering both.”

“Kingfisher is a well recognised brand, both in India and internationally, standing for exuberance and lifestyle, combined with a long-standing credibility built over many decades. These qualities will be integral to the Kingfisher Airlines platform of “fly the good times,” he adds.

Airbus’ A320 family is the acknowledged technological leader in the single-aisle class, with advanced features such as fuel-saving wingtip fences, weight-saving composites, and the reliability that comes from its modern design and ease of maintenance. It also consistently leads in independent passenger and operator surveys.

“It is always good to welcome a new customer to the Airbus family, and we derive great satisfaction in being its partner in delivering comfort and value to passengers,” says Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. “With a population of over a billion, India is a large and expanding market, and we look forward to growing our presence in it with both new and established carriers.

Airbus’ A320 family is the most successful aircraft family in the world, having been chosen by more than 160 customers and operators around the world, including many in Asia. Firm orders for the Airbus A320 family stand at some 3,200 aircraft, more than 2,200 of which have been delivered to date.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.