Dutch airline Martinair received its first Airbus A320 today, becoming the first operator of new A320s in the Netherlands. The aircraft are leased from Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) and will allow the airline to further expand its international network into holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

Martinair's selection of the Airbus A320 was driven by the A320's superior economics, unbeatable performance on short runways, best dispatch reliability in its segment and outstanding level of passenger comfort in a single class layout. The A320 features the widest cabin cross-section, thus offering wider seats for a more pleasant flight and wider aisles for fast turnarounds that are essential in the charter market.

The Amsterdam based carrier will equip its A320s with V2527 engines from International Aero Engines, with low fuel burn, emissions and noise, making it an environmentally responsible neighbour at Schiphol airport.

Renowned for its operational flexibility, Martinair also recognised the unique value of the A320 Family in its decision. The A318, A319, A320 and A321 form the world's most profitable, extensive and best selling family of aircraft, offering Martinair significant flexibility to adapt capacity to demand in the future. All A320 Family members share the same type rating, so pilots qualified on one can fly any of the others without additional training, and the aircraft can all be maintained by the same team of mechanics.

Martinair's President and CEO Arie Verberk sees new opportunities with the new Airbus: "The choice of this Airbus A320 makes it possible for us to operate on another market in Europe. New destinations, especially on the smaller Greek islands, can be reached with this 180-seater. We can offer the tour operators a wider range of possibilities, so we will be an one-stop-shop for them."

"We are very pleased to see Martinair becoming the first operator of new A320s in the Netherlands, a country in which Airbus market share is growing rapidly," said NoŽl Forgeard, Airbus President and CEO. "With nearly 350 A320 Family aircraft in operation or on order for the European low-fare and tourism industry, Airbus is the clear market leader in this segment," he added.

Martinair operates across the globe from 75 locations, utilizing a network of international establishments as far afield as Hong Kong and Florida, and employing a workforce of no less than 3,000. Martinair also owns a number of aviation-related subsidiaries. Since its establishment 45 years ago, Martinair has grown from a small charter company into a significant player in both the European and intercontinental cargo and leisure carrier markets.

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.