Aer Lingus has signed a contract with Airbus in Dublin for the purchase of two Airbus A330 aircraft, bringing the total number of the airline’s long haul fleet to nine Airbus A330s. Both aircraft will be delivered in mid 2007.

The two new A330 aircraft, an A330-200 and an A330-300, will be powered by General Electric CF6 engines and will be used to expand Aer Lingus' long-haul network. The aircraft will have a comfortable two-class configuration, the A330-200 with 24 passengers in premier and 245 passengers in economy class, the A330-300 with 24 and 303.

The airline presently has an all Airbus fleet, also operating 21 A320s and six A321s.

Commenting on this latest acquisition, Dermot Mannion, Chief Executive of Aer Lingus, said: "This purchase is an important step for Aer Lingus and demonstrates our commitment to developing and enhancing our long haul network with the most efficient aircraft in its class."

Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and CEO, said: "This purchase confirms Aer Lingus' confidence in Airbus' modern family of aircraft. Airbus has established a good and long lasting relationship with Aer Lingus, and we are proud to provide them with the most efficient wide-bodied aircraft as the backbone to their long haul fleet."

The A330 models' passenger revenue generating power, combined with low operating costs and significant cargo capabilities, offers enhanced airline profitability. The aircraft are better placed to match market requirements in terms of range and efficiency, whilst offering high levels of technology in terms of structure, aerodynamics and systems. The A330 also offers the most spacious cabin of any wide-body aircraft in its category.

More than 700 A330/A340/A350 Family aircraft are in operation with almost 80 operators. The order backlog exceeds 300 aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.