Eurofly has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of three A350-800s with three more on option, and becomes the Italian launch customer for Airbus' new 250 - 300 seat long range airliner. Eurofly is also leasing two additional A330-200s, bringing its total fleet of the type to five.

This transaction is part of Eurofly's expansion plan to reinforce its widebody fleet on long range destinations. The A350s are to be delivered from 2013, and will be used by the Italian airline to pioneer additional long haul flights, connecting Italian airports with attractive holiday destinations in the Caribbean, Africa, America and Asia, and to operate direct flights between Rome, Naples, Palermo, Bologna and New York.

Eurofly already operates an Airbus fleet of eight A320s, one A319 Long Range, and three A330s. The two additional A330-200s, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, are to be delivered starting in late 2006.

"Adding the modern A350 to our fleet underlines our status as a young and dynamic airline with one of the youngest fleets and highest level of passenger service," underlined Augusto Angioletti, CEO of Eurofly. "In operational cost as well as passenger comfort, our Airbus fleet provides the kind of travel that accountants appreciate and which passengers dream about."

Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert said: "Having Eurofly, a very dynamic and fast growing carrier, among our early A350 customers, is yet another good example of the popularity of our widebody fleet, which answers the needs of successful airlines. This new deal reinforces the successful co-operation that Airbus has had with Eurofly since 2001, and opens the door to a long-term partnership."

Eurofly became the first Italian company to operate the long range Airbus A330-200 in 2002. Commonality of the A350 with the A330 in the Eurofly fleet is a decisive advantage, allowing Eurofly savings in operational and maintenance costs. With the A350, Eurofly will also be able to continue operating "mixed fleet flying" with the rest of its Airbus aircraft family, a concept it was first to introduce in Italy. The new A350 also benefits from the technologically advanced innovations of the A380, and features the latest technologies and materials. It carries 30 more passengers, eight per cent more economically per seat, and flies 550 km further than its closest competitor.

Orders and commitments for the new A350 now stand at 172 aircraft from 13 customers.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.