GB Airways has signed a contract with Airbus for five Airbus single-aisle Family aircraft: one A320 and four A321s. This is the first time that the airline is acquiring aircraft directly from Airbus. Delivery of these five aircraft is expected from 2007 onwards. The aircraft will be powered by IAE V2500 engines from International Aero Engines.

The airline is an all-Airbus operator, with eleven A320s and three A321s in its fleet today. Three further A321s are expected to join the fleet by Spring 2007. GB Airways, a British Airways franchise partner, received its first A320 in May 2000.

The airline operates flights from its main base in London-Gatwick, and also from London-Heathrow. Last week, the airline started operating from its new base in Manchester. This summer, GB Airways will operate British Airways flights to 30 selected destinations in Gibraltar, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain including the Balearic and Canary islands, and Tunisia.

“This order from an existing Airbus operator is another milestone in the success story of the A320 Family with airlines around the world”, said Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. “The GB Airways decision to buy A320 Family aircraft is confirming the aircraft’s role as benchmark in this market segment”, he added.

“GB Airways has enjoyed steady growth since the introduction of the Airbus fleet in 2000 and has earned a reputation both in the industry and amongst our passengers for operating a young fleet of comfortable, modern aircraft. This new order marks the next stage of the airline’s development and clearly demonstrates our commitment to the Airbus A320 Family of aircraft,” said John Patterson, GB Airways Managing Director.

The Airbus A320 Family of aircraft consists of the A318, A319, A320 and the A321 types, covering the market segment of aircraft with a seating capacity between just over 100 and more than 200 passengers. All based on the initial A320 design, they offer the highest degree of operational commonality and economy for aircraft in this category. With an optimised cabin cross-section – the widest single-aisle fuselage on the market – this family of aircraft has established itself as the preferred choice with established and low-cost airlines and passengers alike.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.