Germanwings, the rapidly-expanding Cologne-based low-cost carrier (LCC), has announced at this year’s Le Bourget Airshow near Paris, France, that it will increase its all-Airbus fleet with an additional 18 A319s, to be purchased directly from Airbus. In addition to the 18 A319s that will be on firm order, the agreement also covers 12 options. This is the first time that the airline, which already operates a fleet of 15 A319s and 5 A320s, has acquired aircraft directly from Airbus.

The new A319s for Germanwings will feature a comfortable single-class cabin layout for a maximum of 156 passengers. Deliveries are scheduled from 2006 onwards. Germanwings will fly the aircraft from its bases in Berlin, Stuttgart and from the main hub in Cologne to more than 39 destinations all over Europe. The airline has announced to open an additional hub in Germany already later on this year.

Dr. Joachim Klein, chairman of Germanwings’ board of Managing Directors: “Airbus single-aisle aircraft have carried us to our success in the LCC market since October 2002, and passengers have enjoyed the punctuality, reliability and comfort of the Germanwings fleet. We want to continue on our success by expanding our Airbus fleet.”

Noël Forgeard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus said: “We are pleased to see one of the most successful value-based airlines in Europe putting its trust again in Airbus for the expansion of its fleet. We wish Germanwings all the best for prosperous operations in the future.”

The A320 Family is recognised as the aircraft series of choice in the low cost market. Currently, there are more than 430 A320 Family aircraft in service with LCCs worldwide, and around 500 are on order, representing some two-thirds of the order backlog in that market segment.

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.