Kingfisher Airlines has become the first Indian carrier to sign a firm contract with Airbus for the A350 and A380 – the company’s newest and largest aircraft, respectively – as well as for the A330. The order is for five A350-800s plus five A380s for intercontinental services, and five A330-200s for regional routes.

Deliveries of Kingfisher’s Airbus A330s are due to begin in the third quarter of 2007, those of the double-deck A380s in 2010, and those of the A350s in 2012. Engine selections have yet to be announced.

Kingfisher will use its A330s on regional routes, including flights to Europe, while the A350 and A380 are destined for longer nonstop flights – such as to the USA.

“India is one of the world’s fastest growing markets, especially among the younger emerging generation, and these new Airbus aircraft, with their unmatched passenger appeal, economy and commonality, will give us the lead in competing for their business, “ says Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of the UB Group, one of India’s largest companies and the parent company of Kingfisher Airlines. “We’ll begin with the Airbus A330, which is a great aircraft and already in widespread service, and then we”ll create a sensation when we become the first Indian carrier with the 21st Century flagship A380, before adding the world’s newest airliner, the A350. Imagine flying the good times, not just in India, but worldwide !”

Kingfisher Airlines is already an important Airbus customer – it has ordered ten A320s and three A319s, and has options on a further 20 single-aisle aircraft. It has established itself as an air-travel phenomenon in the Indian market, introducing new standards in passenger appeal – such as personal video-screens in every seat. In quickly establishing a formidable record for quality of service and reliability in the Indian skies, Kingfisher is rapidly becoming a favourite of discerning passengers.

“Our Airbus A330, A350 and A380 are clearly the right aircraft for the strongly growing Indian marketplace, as Kingfisher’s clarity of vision in selecting them demonstrates,” says Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. “And with Kingfisher’s flair for delivering a quality product to consumers, the new Airbus aircraft are set to give India its rightful share of the important travel and tourism business.”

Airbus’ A330 is part of the modern market-leading A330/A340 family, which has won the lion’s share of orders and customers in the middle of the market so far, and which is well established as the airlines’ workhorse on regional routes.

The new Airbus A350 builds on and complements the success already achieved by the A330 and A340 in this field, by capitalising on technologies created for the double-deck A380. Its advanced features include a lighter airframe through the use of carbonfibre wings and an aluminium-lithium fuselage, fuel-saving aerodynamic improvements that flow from computer-modelling, and lower maintenance costs.

Airbus’ A380 is simply the largest, most spacious and most economic airliner ever built, delivering up to 31 per cent better economy per seat than even the newest other airliners. Setting new standards in how the world flies, it is truly the flagship of the 21st Century and the new icon of the air transport industry.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.