German low-cost airline Air Berlin and its Austrian partner Niki Luftfahrt GmbH have decided to acquire up to 110 Airbus A320 aircraft in a combined acquisition. The initial agreements, signed during a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, in the presence of Joachim Hunold, Managing Partner of Air Berlin, Niki Lauda, President of Niki and Gustav Humbert, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, will cover firm orders for 70 aircraft, of which 60 will join the fleet of Air Berlin, while 10 are for Vienna, Austria, based Niki. The remaining 40 option aircraft are to be allocated at a later point in time. Deliveries are scheduled to start in September 2005.

The A320s for Air Berlin and Niki will seat 174 passengers in a comfortable single-class layout, and the aircraft will be deployed on both airlines’ routes from German and Austrian cities to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, as well as on Air Berlin’s and Niki’s fast-growing scheduled network of City Shuttle destinations across Europe.

Gustav Humbert, Airbus Chief Operating Officer said: “We are delighted that a further major European low-cost alliance has decided in favour of our A320 Family aircraft. This underlines the success of the Airbus single-aisle product line with both classic airlines and charter operators/low-cost airlines.”

Joachim Hunold, Managing Partner of Air Berlin, said: “With this decision, we want to ensure that we can further grow in the Low Cost Segment.”

Air Berlin’s decision further reinforces the Airbus position as the leading supplier in the Low-Cost and Charter market, and it confirms the market’s appreciation for the low-cost, high-revenue and high-reliability characteristics of the A320 Family, also including the larger A321 and the smaller A319 and A318 aircraft.

Over the last 12 months, about a dozen Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs) worldwide have committed to taking almost 180 further A320 Family aircraft into their fleets, highlighting the ideal suitability of the Airbus single-aisle product line for this booming, but very demanding market segment. Already today, 180 A320 Family aircraft are flying with charter airlines in Europe.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.