BMED has placed a firm order with Airbus for seven A321s, with the first delivery scheduled for January 2006. The order is the first that the airline, which is a franchise partner of British Airways, has placed directly with Airbus.

BMED has been an Airbus operator since its inception in 1994, and currently operates three Airbus A320s and three A321s with a further A320 due to be delivered in May. BMED, based at London Heathrow Airport serves fifteen destinations across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa and includes some of the longest A321 sectors in the world.

“We are delighted to be increasing the BMED fleet in support of our growth plans which will see the business double in size over the next five years. Our passengers are very pleased with the comfort that the Airbus A320 Family delivers, and we are delighted with the economy and reliability that it brings to our day-to-day operations,” says BMED Acting CEO Angus Saunders.

BMED’s A321s will seat 149 passengers offering 31 seats in Club World and 118 seats in World Traveller and will be powered by International Aero Engines V2500s.

“BMED’s order highlights the success that the modern Airbus A320 Family continues to win with full service airlines, in addition to the strong sales that it is also enjoying in the low-cost carrier field,” says Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard.

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 consistently leads in independent passenger and operator surveys.

Airbus’ A320 Family is the most successful in the world, having been chosen by some 185 customers and operators, including both established and low-cost carriers. Firm orders for the Airbus A320 family stand at almost 3,400 aircraft, more than 2,300 of which have been delivered.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.