TAP Portugal, an all-Airbus operator, has announced the decision to acquire 10 Airbus A350s and seven Airbus A330-200s to modernise and reinforce its long-haul fleet. TAP’s decision confirms herewith the number of sales for the A350 of 143 aircraft from 10 customers.

TAP will cover its long-haul route network with its A330s and A350s. It will add the new A330-200 aircraft starting from 2007, in response to the increased demand for its destinations in South America, Africa and North America. A350 deliveries will begin in 2013. Both the A330s and the A350s will be fitted with a comfortable two-class layout. The TAP A330-200 will accommodate 268 passengers.

CEO of TAP Portugal Fernando Pinto underlined, that, “this order of Airbus A330s and A350s is a natural step for our airline, it will help build on our success and enable us to provide our passengers with extraordinary travel comfort. TAP is dedicated to making forward-looking decisions, investing in the most modern technology and operational efficiency, and this decision is no exception.“

“We are very pleased with the choice made by our prestigious client TAP,” said Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert. “The technologically advanced A350 will add even more value to TAP’s existing A330-340 Airbus long range family. TAP is guaranteed a smooth integration of these new aircraft into their successful all Airbus fleet, while continuing to provide its customers with unequalled passenger comfort.”

Being an A330 and an A350 customer, TAP optimises costs related to operation, maintenance and training. Both aircraft benefit from the Airbus “family effect”, notably the same pilot type rating, allowing pilots to fly both aircraft without additional training. The A350 also complements TAP’s A320 family thanks to the benefits of Airbus’ operational commonality between all fly-by-wire models.

Airbus’ A350 and A330 are the best in their class. The A330-200 has the lowest operating costs with the most spacious cabin of any widebody aircraft in its category, while the A350 carries 30 more passengers, enjoys an eight per cent cost per seat advantage, and flies 550 km further than its closest competitor. Moreover, with 60 percent advanced weight-saving materials and new generation engines, the A350 offers unbeatable fuel efficiency against today’s backdrop of fuel price increases. The A350’s new cabin also offers unrivalled levels of comfort for passengers on long-haul flights.

The A330/A340/A350 family gives Airlines the ability to respond to all long-range market needs, with the A340 for the ultra long-range, and the A330 and now the new A350 for medium to very long-ranges. The A380 completes the family for hub-to-hub flights.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.