June 06, 2007

Airbus lands US$2.4b Aer Lingus plane deal

LONDON : Irish airline Aer Lingus announced on Wednesday an order for 12 new Airbus airliners worth 2.4 billion dollars (1.78 billion euros) to boost its expansion on transatlantic routes.

Aer Lingus will take delivery of six new wide-bodied A350 XWBs and six new A330 300E aircraft from 2009 onwards, the company said in a statement which added that it had obtained "substantial discounts."

The A330s will be delivered between 2009 and 2011, while the A350s will be delivered between 2014 and 2016. The carrier added that it has the option to purchase a further six A350 XWB jets for delivery by 2018.

The order brings troubled European group Airbus a new customer for its long-haul A350, which was designed to compete with the 787 Dreamliner manufactured by US rival Boeing.

Last week, Boeing had won an order for 27 Boeing 737-800 jets from Aer Lingus' key low-cost rival Ryanair in a deal worth 1.9 billion dollars at list prices. Ryanair owns about one quarter of Aer Lingus stock.

"We are pleased to announce this investment in new long haul aircraft," said Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion in the statement.

"These aircraft are key to our growth ambitions which include new routes to the United States following the Open Skies agreement."

The push into the US market has been made possible after EU transport ministers earlier this year cleared plans to free up transatlantic routes between Europe and the United States under a so-called "open skies" deal.

Read the rest of this article's at: Channel NewsAsia

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