Air Europa has announced today that it firmed up its order for 10 A350-800s and two further options, for deliveries between 2010 and 2012. The contract was signed at the end of December. Air Europa will also lease three A350s from the leasing company GECAS. The Spanish scheduled airline became the first to commit to Airbus’ new 250-300 seat long range airliner in December 2004. Since then, total orders and commitments for the new aircraft have risen to 172 from 13 customers.

As part of its fleet modernisation, Air Europa has already added a leased A340-200, and has signed an agreement to lease a further four A330-200s the first of which will be delivered in March 2006.

Air Europa's A350s will be powered by Genx-1A engines, and will be fitted with a two class configuration that highlights the high level of passenger comfort in the new aircraft's cabin. In Air Europa’s configuration, the A350-800 will fly up to 253 passengers on ranges up to 8,600 nm/15,900 km. The rapidly growing airline will use the A350 for its transatlantic flights from Spain to North and South America.

"This deal brings together the world’s most modern aircraft with one of the most modern airlines in Europe, allowing our company to continue with its growth strategy," stated Juan Jose Hidalgo, Executive President of the Globalia Group, parent company of Air Europa. "We are a pioneer customer for the A350, and with the A350 we will be pioneers in providing pleasurable travel."

Gustav Humbert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus, underlined the importance of this deal: "This contract from our first A350 customer is a special event for Airbus. Air Europa was the first airline to recognize the benefits of an aircraft which is now being widely ordered. It shows once more that the A350 effectively complements airlines’ fleets on flights to long haul destinations."

Already an A340 operator, which will soon expand its widebody fleet with the A330, Air Europa will profit from valuable savings in operation, maintenance and training. Thanks to the same type rating, A330 pilots can fly the A350 with no additional training.

Complementing the existing A330 and A340, the A350-800/900 complements the Airbus widebody family while capitalising on A380 state-of-the-art technology. New generation engines, new wings and a lighter structure thanks to the use of 60 per cent advanced materials, assure some 12 per cent lower fuel consumption. The advanced wingtip technology, add to the significant reduction in fuel consumption, and hence environmentally sustainable flying.

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.