Germanwings, the rapidly-expanding Cologne-based low-cost carrier (LCC), has signed a contract for 18 Airbus A319s. The order follows an earlier announcement of the airline’s decision to further expand its fleet of Airbus single-aisle aircraft. The new aircraft are the first that Germanwings has acquired directly from Airbus, while the airline already operates a fleet of 19 A319s and three A320s.

The new A319s for Germanwings will feature a comfortable single-class cabin layout for a maximum of 156 passengers. The aircraft will be powered by V2500 engines from International Aero Engines. Germanwings will fly the aircraft from its bases in Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg as well as from the main hub in Cologne to more than 40 destinations all over Europe.

Joachim Klein, chairman of the board of management of Germanwings said: "Adding further Airbus single-aisle aircraft to our fleet will allow us to expand our attractive services to more destinations, serving more passengers and markets. The new A319s will ensure that we can continue our success, that we enjoyed in the LCC market since October 2002."

Gustav Humbert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus said: "We are pleased to see Germanwings coming back to Airbus to add more capacity to its fleet. This vote of confidence is further proof that airlines with A320 Family experience are happy to come back for more."

The A320 Family is recognised as the aircraft family 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 this growing market segment.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.