Sichuan Airlines has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of six A320s and two A319s. The aircraft, scheduled for delivery from late 2005 to 2008, will be powered by IAE’s V2500 engines.

“The aircraft will help us enlarge our fleet and increase our operational capability on high-altitude routes,” said Lan Xinguo, President of the Sichuan Airlines.

“We are delighted to see that Sichuan Airlines gave us a new vote of confidence by ordering more Airbus aircraft,” said Airbus President and CEO Noel Forgeard. “We are convinced that the A319 will further boost the fast development of the airline.”

The relationship between Airbus and the Sichuan Airlines can be dated back to 1995, when the Chengdu-based carrier became the first A320 operator and first fly-by-wire operator in the Chinese mainland. Currently, it has a fleet of eight A320s, four A321s and two A319s, which have been operating successfully.

The A320 Family offers optimum cabin comfort in its class, reflecting a common commitment that is found in all Airbus aircraft. And like all the passenger aircraft that Airbus produces today, it features many modern technology features at no extra charge – such as advanced fuel-saving aerodynamics, including winglets, widespread weight-saving carbon fibre composites, and pilot and maintenance-friendly fly-by-wire controls and centralised maintenance.

Airbus’ A320 Family is the most successful aircraft family in the world, having been chosen by more than 180 customers and operators around the world. Firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family stand at some 3,400 aircraft, more than 2,300 of which have been delivered to date. Around 180 A320 Family aircraft are in service in the Chinese fleet on the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.

Airbus’s business in China has been steadily expanding since it first entered the country in 1985. The Airbus fleet in service in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao has grown to more than 280 today from just 29 in 1995. A world-class training and support centre, which represents a US$80 million investment by Airbus, is fully operational in Beijing. Five Chinese companies are already involved in producing parts for Airbus aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.