New Delhi: Indian Airlines Ltd, India's leading airline, today signed a contract for 43 Airbus A320 family aircraft. The deal was signed by the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Airlines Ltd, Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi and Executive Vice President, Airbus Dr. Kiran Rao in the presence of His Excellency the President of France, Mr. Jacques Chirac and the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Indian has ordered 43 Airbus A320 Family aircraft - comprising 20 A319s, four A320s and 19 A321s. The deal marks the first time that an Indian carrier has selected the Airbus A321.

All of the Airbus aircraft will feature two-class cabin layouts and be powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines.

"The acquisition of the 43 aircraft of the A320 family will allow Indian Airlines to step up growth and modernisation, expand its market and further improve the quality of its product offering," said Indian Airlines CMD Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi.

Indian Airlines was one of the first carriers to recognise and benefit from the Airbus A320 Family, of which it currently operates 50. With a large pool of pilots, engineers and cabin crew that are already trained and experienced in operating the Airbus A320, it is well placed to add other family members to its fleet.

"Indian Airlines' new commitment to the Airbus A320 Family rejuvenates a partnership between our companies that began over 30 years ago, and which is now set to continue into the future," says Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert. "It also highlights how the benefits of Airbus aircraft shine through in the toughest and most comprehensive of airline evaluations".

As the newest and youngest aircraft series in the 100-200 seat category, the Airbus A320 Family delivers unequalled comfort and space to passengers, unbeatable economy and reliability to airlines, and unmatched value and longevity as an investment - plus the unique benefit of operational commonality.

Featuring modern aerodynamics, structures and systems, the Airbus A320 Family delivers more – such as fuel-saving wingtip fences, extensive use of weight-saving alloys and composites in its airframe, and fly-by-wire controls that are now the industry standard for new airliners.

Over 4,200 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold since deliveries began less than 20 years ago, making them the airliner industry’s best-sellers. More than 2,600 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been delivered so far, and there are now more than 200 customers and operators of them around the world.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.