Yemenia-Yemen Airways, based in Sanaa, has selected the Airbus A350 for its long haul fleet modernization programme and has signed a preliminary agreement with Airbus for the acquisition of six aircraft of the type, with options for another four. The selection of the A350-800 by the airline followed a thorough evaluation of the aircraft type and its competitor.

Deliveries of the A350s for Yemenia will start in 2012, and the aircraft will be configured in a comfortable two-class configuration with seating for 18 passengers in First Class and 265 in Economy. The engine type for Yemenia’s A350s has still to be selected.

Captain Abdulkhaled Al-Kadi, Chairman of Yemenia-Yemen Airways said: "We are delighted to have secured the future of our long-range fleet with the Airbus A350 in the next decade. We are looking forward to introducing the aircraft on the intercontinental routes to and from Yemen. Yemen Airways is on the right track to implement its fleet modernization program, and is preparing for growth. Recent business trends are remarkably well. Yemenia is expecting a double digit growth annually, this is why there is a need to focus on fleet, human resources training, automation and networking."

Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and CEO said: "We are proud to start another chapter in the long and fruitful cooperation with Yemenia Yemen Airways. The new A350s are the perfect tools for the airline to further develop its services from Yemen to Europe and Asia. Yemenia’s decision for the A350 is also another endorsement of Airbus' new 250 - 300 seat aircraft programme and confirms its success with customers."

Yemenia's decision brings the total number of orders and commitments for the new A350 to 182 from 14 customers.

Yemenia currently has four A310s and two A330-200s in its long haul fleet, operating from its base in Sanaa and Aden to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as possible further expansions of the network in Africa in the future.

The A350-800/900 complements the existing A330/A340 Airbus long-range 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. Passengers will be able to enjoy the large space offered in a new generation cabin, which will also include latest features of lighting.

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.