Afriqiyah Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of six A320s and three A319s plus an option on five, as well as for three A330-200s, plus three options. This acquisition is part of the long-term expansion strategy of this young and dynamic Libyan airline, who began activities in December 2001.

The new A320s and A319s will be put into service on Afriqiyah's growing international network, covering routes from its base at Tripoli to 17 destinations in North-, West- and Central Africa and the Middle East, as well as to European destinations such as Paris, Brussels, Geneva, London, Rome and Amsterdam. Afriqiyah's A319s will carry 124 passengers, while the A320 will seat 150 in comfortable two class configurations. The A330s will serve the long haul operations on routes to Southern Africa, Asia and Europe and will have a three-class configuration with 253 seats.

Captain Sabri, CEO of the Afriqiyah Airways, explained: "With the excellent record of the A320 Family as well as the A330 in terms of great economics and efficiency, the acquisition of these Airbus aircraft was a natural choice. These aircraft provide us with the full advantage of commonality and perfectly fulfil our expectations in terms of passenger comfort and optimised operational costs, and are the ideal investment to further strengthen our market position. Furthermore, the A330-200 is the ideal medium capacity long range airliner for our type of operations."

Christian Streiff, CEO and President of Airbus, added: "We greatly value this new partnership with Afriqiyah Airways, and are happy to strengthen it further while accompanying the airline in its growth strategy, not only by means of our products but also with specifically tailored services. We are proud of this sign of confidence, and look forward to create a long term win-win cooperation."

One of the specific services, part of a larger strategic partnership between EADS and the Libyan authorities, is the support of Airbus to Afriqiyah Airways to create a pilot and maintenance training centre as well as a maintenance base at its headquarters in Tripoli. In this way, Airbus actively boosts Afriqiyah's further development into an internationally competitive airline. The centre will offer a broad range of customised, interactive courses with constantly updated programmes and state-of-the-art equipment to train flight and cabin crews as well as maintenance personnel.

Firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family now stand at more than 4,300 aircraft, making them the world's fastest and best-selling airliners of all times. The Airbus A320 Family is in service with more than 200 customers and operators worldwide. Over 1,000 A330/A340/A350 Family aircraft have been ordered to date by over 70 customers.

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