The Czech national carrier CSA Czech Airlines took delivery of its first directly purchased A320 during a ceremony in Toulouse today. The delivery is the first of 12 aircraft included in CSA's purchase contract last year for the six A319s and six A320s, and follows the delivery of aircraft from leasing companies. CSA has already been operating A320’s and A321’s for several months.

The airline selected Airbus' products to replace the older generation aircraft in its core European fleet, following an exhaustive evaluation of both the A320 Family and competing aircraft. CSA Czech Airlines became an Airbus customer for the first time in 1991, when the A310 became the first Airbus aircraft to be operated by the Prague-based airline.

With deliveries scheduled from March 2006 to September 2008, the airline plans to use these new aircraft on longer range routes in Europe and to open up new markets. CSA Czech Airlines has selected CFM 56-5B4/P engines for the A320. In terms of cabin configuration, the airline has chosen a two-class configuration for all aircraft, offering not only a comfortable business class but also the advantages of a wider cabin and therefore more personal space in economy class.

"The new aircraft will enhance the competitiveness of CSA on the market, offer our customers high travel comfort and farther destinations," said Mr. Radomir Lasak, CSA Czech Airlines President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Airbus' A320 Family features the most modern design, the widest and most comfortable cabin, and the highest degree of operational commonality of any single-aisle aircraft. It also has great economics through lower fuel burn and maintenance costs, superior short-field performance and proven worth as an excellent financial investment.

"We are pleased and honoured that customers such as CSA Czech Airlines have chosen our A320 Family and we wish them every success in the future," said Airbus President and CEO Dr Gustav Humbert. "We look forward to seeing many more CSA A320s across the European skies."

All of the Airbus A320 Family, which comprises the A318, A319, A320 and A321, feature the same type-rating for pilots and comprehensive commonality, delivering important cost-savings in training and unmatched operational flexibility.

Airbus' A320 Family is the most successful aircraft family in the world, having been chosen by more than 170 operators around the world. Firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family stand at some 4,200 aircraft, more than 2,600 of which have been delivered to date.

CSA Czech Airlines is the largest national carrier among the new EU member countries according to number of transported passengers. In 2004, the airline transported a record 4.34 mil. passengers. Since 2001, it has been a member of SkyTeam, one of the leading global airline alliances. CSA currently offers connections to 123 destinations in 48 countries worldwide.

Headquartered in Toulouse Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.