The State Concern of Civil Aviation “Azerbaijan Hava Yollari’ (AZAL) has signed a contract with Airbus for three Airbus A319s and one Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ). The Baku based company thus becomes a new Airbus airline customer as well as - on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan – a new Airbus ACJ client, joining the many governments that have already selected it.

AZAL will receive its first A319 in mid 2005. All aircraft will be powered by CFM56-5 engines from CFM-International.

The contract was signed in Berlin at a ceremony in the presence of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

“Azerbaijan’s civil aviation has grown rapidly over the last years and our flag carrier benefited from this growth through continuously increasing passenger number. Baku becomes the regional leader in transport field and a major air hub in the Caspian region”, said Jahangir Askerov, General Director of AZAL when signing the contract. “Our passengers already fly with modern and comfortable aircraft and we are pleased that our fleet will be joined by new Airbus aircraft which help us to further consolidate our positions in the international market.”

“AZAL’s selection of the A320 Family aircraft marks a significant breakthrough in the CIS market for Airbus,” said Noël Forgeard. “We welcome AZAL as the first Airbus customer in the Caucasus States and we are confident that both airliner and corporate jet operations of AZAL will contribute to more wealth.”

The A319 is a member of Airbus’ best-selling single-aisle A320 Family and features a very spacious and comfortable cabin. AZAL will configure the A319s with a flexible seat layout to host between 114 and 122 passengers in a two-class configuration. The airline will operate the A319s on its international network from Heydar Aliyev international airport, Baku, to European capitals and destinations in Asia and the Middle East.

The Airbus ACJ is a powerful and productive business tool based on the A319. It offers unmatched quality and value for private transport. The Airbus ACJ has the best cabin in its class, with twice the width of traditional business jets and three times the volume, for about the same price as competing top-of-the-line aircraft. By the end of the year, more than 30 Airbus ACJ family aircraft will be in service worldwide.

The Azerbaijan ACJ can seat some 55 passengers and will have a range of up to 9,000 km – enough to fly non-stop from Baku to all European capitals and most major cities in Asia and Africa, at a very competitive operational cost. The ACJ is scheduled for delivery at the end of 2005.

Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain, as well as subsidiaries in the US, China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.