US Airways has agreed to terms with Airbus S.A.S. for 60 single-aisle A320-family aircraft and 32 widebody aircraft, including the next generation A350 XWB. The A320-family planes would replace 60 older aircraft in the airline’s fleet.
The airline is also reaffirming its commitment to the A350 widebody program by increasing its previously announced order of 20 A350s by two to 22 A350 XWBs in both the -800 and larger -900 series configuration. This allows for modest international expansion or replacement of existing older technology aircraft should market conditions warrant.
The airline expects to take delivery of the first A350-800 in 2014, becoming the North American launch customer for the fleet type, featuring Rolls Royce engines. Purchase rights for additional planes are included, allowing for the eventual retirement of all other widebody jets and leaving the airline with a single intercontinental fleet type of A350 XWBs.
Today’s announcement also includes 10 A330-200 aircraft with deliveries starting in 2009 and flexibility to convert to A330-300 or longer range A340s.
The new A330-200s share fleet commonality with US Airways’ fleet of nine existing A330-300s, but with a longer range and slightly smaller seating capacity. Finally, these deliveries will facilitate the eventual retirement of US Airways’ B767 fleet.
The transaction also includes 60 A320-family aircraft with deliveries beginning in 2010.
Increased commonality in the US Airways fleet will be substantial. By 2012, more than 80 percent of the narrowbody fleet will be Airbus A320-family aircraft. All three core types of the A320-family fleet are included in the firm order.
US Airways currently holds firm orders for 37 A320 family aircraft for delivery in 2009 and 2010, increasing total commitments to the plane type to 97. Classic Boeing 737-300/400s will be eliminated from the fleet as the A320s are delivered. The narrowbody fleet count is expected to remain stable.
Doug Parker, US Airways Group, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer said, “We are very pleased to once again partner with Airbus. This transaction sets the stage for the next generation of the US Airways fleet, which will be among the youngest and most efficient in the U.S. airline industry. We’re very excited about the A350 program and have every confidence that Airbus will manufacture a truly innovative and revolutionary aircraft.
“We know that all of these aircraft will serve customers and employees well for many years to come,” Parker said.
US Airways President Scott Kirby added, “After much analysis we concluded the A320 family is the perfect replacement for our retiring narrowbodies, and the expanded widebody order is consistent with our needs to both replace current aircraft and expand modestly internationally. These new planes will improve economic efficiencies by not only reducing fuel consumption but fleet complexities, which will lower maintenance costs, streamline training and help realize flight crew synergies, specifically with cockpit commonality.”
“This new widebody order also allows US Airways to continue development of our international gateway in Philadelphia as well as new service from our other primary hubs with two to three new international destinations per year being added across the globe. The A350 XWB will have significantly longer range and payload capabilities but much lower costs than the A330s and 767s they replace, opening up new profitable markets across the globe to Asia, the Middle East and India,” Kirby added.
” US Airways operates the largest A320-family fleet in the world, so the benefits of Airbus aircraft are already well known to the airline and its millions of passengers,” said Airbus President and C.E.O. Louis Gallois. “We are very pleased to partner with US Airways as they modernize their fleet of single-aisle and long-range aircraft and create new travel and shipping options for their customers.”
The order is contingent upon execution of definitive purchase agreements, expected in the coming weeks.
US Airways is the fifth largest domestic airline employing more than 36,000 aviation professionals worldwide. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express operate approximately 3,800 flights per day and serve more than 230 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.