Middle East Airlines, the national airline of Lebanon, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus today, covering the sale of six Airbus A321s. The aircraft will be purchased by MEA for delivery between the end of 2002 and 2004.
“Selection of the A321 will improve our operating efficiency thanks to the aircraft’s commonality with our existing and future fleet,” said MEA Chairman Director General Mohamad El-Hout. “And the continued expansion of our Airbus fleet is key to ensuring our future growth and prosperity as Lebanon’s flag carrier.”
“We are delighted in this vote of confidence from MEA, which has been successfully operating Airbus aircraft on lease since 1997,” said Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer No‘l Forgeard.
The A321, seating 150 passengers in MEA’s luxurious layout, has a range of up to 5,550km/3,000nm. It will allow the Lebanese carrier to benefit from substantial operating cost savings resulting from commonality with its current fleet of A320 Family aircraft, as well as its future A330-200s, which MEA recently announced it would be acquiring on lease.
The A321 is a member of the highly successful Airbus single-aisle family of aircraft, designed to optimise passenger comfort and ensure savings in just about every element of direct operating costs. The A318, A319, A320 and A321 are all derived from the same fuselage and provide operators with the highest degree of commonality and economy for aircraft in the 107-185 seat category. These aircraft also share a high degree of technical commonality with Airbus’ A330/A340 Family, so the same pool of pilots and technicians can fly and maintain both, resulting in major savings for operators and enhanced fleet efficiency.
The A321’s optimised cabin cross-section has set a new standard for passenger comfort in single-aisle aircraft, allowing for wider seats and aisles, as well as greater overhead stowage. The wider fuselage also provides unmatched cargo capability and the A321 is the only product in its category to offer aircraft whose containerised cargo loading system is compatible with the worldwide standard wide body system.
In addition, the A321 is the most economical and environmentally responsible aircraft in its class, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprints in its size category. The twin-engined A321 can be powered by either CFM International CFM56 or International Aero En-gines V2500 engines.
A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Ger-many, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.