Airbus said yesterday that Spanish airline Air Europa had become the first to commit to buying the A350, the jet being developed by the European plane maker to rival Boeing's 7E7...
PARIS — Airbus said yesterday that Spanish airline Air Europa had become the first to commit to buying the A350, the jet being developed by the European plane maker to rival Boeing’s 7E7 Dreamliner.
Air Europa signed a memorandum of understanding to buy 10 A350s worth about $2 billion at list price with options on two more, less than two weeks after European Aeronautic Defence & Space gave subsidiary Airbus the go-ahead to begin marketing the new plane.
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John Leahy, Airbus’ sales chief, told Bloomberg News that the Air Europa deal was “particularly pleasing since they are an all-Boeing fleet.” Air Europa, Spain’s third-largest carrier, has 32 Boeing planes: 27 737s and five 767s.
Airbus said the Spanish carrier also plans to lease one A340-200, a longer-range, four-engine jet, and two new A330-200s over the next two years.
The airline will take delivery of the 250-seat A350 between 2010 and 2012, it said in a statement reported by Bloomberg News.
Toulouse, France-based Airbus has to win sufficient A350 orders before its management decides to begin production of the plane. CEO Noël Forgeard said he was aiming for 50 orders before next June’s Paris Air Show.
Leahy said recently that the company is in “serious discussions” to sell the plane to Qatar Airways, Ireland’s Aer Lingus Group, Korean Air and at least six other airlines in addition to Air Europa.
Also yesterday, Airbus announced an order for 30 of its 180-seater A320s from Air Deccan, a new Indian no-frills airline, strengthening its hold on the country’s growing airline industry.
Airbus will begin delivery of the new aircraft in 2007. Air Deccan currently operates three leased A320s and has more on order for 2005.
The order from Air Deccan comes barely a week after another Bangalore-based airline, Kingfisher Airways, bought 10 A320s and took options on an additional 20.