Skybus Airlines has announced that it has signed a firm
contract to purchase 65 Airbus A319 jet aircraft.Skybus will launch
nonstop service to major U.S. markets from its Port Columbus base of
operations in the spring of 2007.
“We’ve carried out extensive research to ensure this aircraft can
deliver our mission—really low fares and very reliable service,” said
Bill Diffenderffer, Skybus Chief Executive Officer. “We believe the lower
cost base and reliability of the A319, coupled with our unique way of doing
business, will make for an unbeatable offering for our customers as we grow
our business and offer more low-fare destinations.”
The first of these A319s will be delivered in late 2008. As it builds
an all-Airbus fleet, Skybus has already arranged for leased A319s to meet
its aircraft needs prior to the arrival of the purchased aircraft.
“The Airbus A319 is a ‘state of the art’ aircraft with the latest
electronics and flight instrument equipment,” said Ken Gile, Skybus
President. “It fits perfectly with our business model, which includes high
utilization of aircraft and quick turnaround times on the ground.”
Airbus officials said the Skybus order was among the largest ever
received from a startup U.S.-based carrier.
“It is exciting to get in on the ground floor of such a promising
operation as Skybus,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer. “It
has been a few years since an order of this meaning and magnitude has come
from a low-cost start-up airline, and we are professionally flattered that
Skybus has turned to the A319 as the core of its fleet. It’s a true
testament to the airline’s confidence in our product and our people.”
The A319 program was launched in 1993, with the first aircraft entering
service in 1996. The A319 is the third derivative in the popular Airbus
A320 family, which has generated firm orders for more than 4,500 aircraft
from 166 customers.
The standard A319 seats 124 passengers. Skybus has not announced the
specific seating configuration of its aircraft, but the airline will use a
single-class configuration for all of its flights.