Major Brazilian carrier TAM has signed a firm contract for ten A350-900s plus five options. TAM's intention to buy the A350 was initially announced at the Paris Air Show in June, when it announced a commitment for eight aircraft

Deliveries of the all-new A350s are scheduled to start at the end of 2012. The aircraft will be fitted with a 3-class cabin configuration and will be put into service on TAM's international network.

TAM currently has a fleet of 59 Airbus aircraft including 36 A320s, 13 A319s and 10 A330-200s and is the largest Airbus operator in Latin America.

"Airbus provides us with the most economical and state-of-the-art aircraft, and we are committed to having Latin America's most modern fleet whilst continuing to put maintenance and safety first through cutting edge technology" declared Marco Bologna, President of TAM, "The A350 is the ideal solution for our long haul network development and for the benefit of passengers to and from Brazil."

"We are proud to be the preferred aircraft supplier of TAM and are confident that the A350 will provide the level of economics, technology and passenger comfort that TAM requires" says Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Gustav Humbert.

Expected to enter service in 2010, the A350 Family will initially include two members. The A350-800 will typically carry 253 passengers in a three-class configuration up to 8,800nm/16,300km. Its larger sister, the A350-900, selected by TAM, will accommodate as many as 300 passengers in a three-class layout on ranges of up to 7,500nm/13,890km.

These new aircraft share the technologically advanced innovations of the A380 and are endowed with the latest technologies. With a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium lithium that combine to give the whole aircraft up to 60 per cent advanced materials, plus a new landing gear, a new cabin, and up to 90 per cent new manufacturing part numbers, the A350 will have an unassailable advantage when it comes to fuel consumption and seat-mile costs, as well as cash operating costs. In addition, it will retain full operational commonality with the current Airbus wide-body long-range fleet, allowing this new aircraft to benefit from the "Family effect," complementing the current leading A330 and A340 Family with which it shares the same Type rating.

With TAM's endorsement, total firm orders and commitments for the new Airbus A350 stand at 166 from 12 customers.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.