America West Holdings Corporation
(NYSE: AWA) announced today a definitive agreement between its wholly owned
subsidiary, America West Airlines, Inc. and Airbus Industrie, pursuant to
which the Airline placed firm orders for 15 Airbus A318-100 aircraft and
12 Airbus A320-200 aircraft. Under the arrangements announced today, the
Airline will also receive options and purchase rights to purchase 50 “A320
family” aircraft (A318s, A319s, A320s or A321s). Deliveries for the firm order
A320 aircraft will begin in August 2000 and continue through 2004. The firm
order A318s are scheduled to be delivered in 2003 and 2004.
“This very competitively priced order supports our strategic plan to grow
the Airline and maintain our industry leading cost structure,” said W. A.
Franke, America West Holdings chairman, president and chief executive officer.
“We are excited about the addition of the A318 which will permit the Airline
to replace our 737-200 aircraft early in the next decade and continue our
strategy of more frequent service to key business markets.”
“America West is already one of North America`s top customers for Airbus
Industrie, and we are honored that it will also be one of the first U.S.
customers for the A318,” said Noel Forgeard, chief executive officer, Airbus
The A318 is the newest and smallest member of the A320 family. Though it
will feature a shorter fuselage than the A319, the A318 shares the same
cockpit, avionics, fly-by-wire flight management systems and cabin width as
the other members of the A320 family and has 2,000 miles of “hot and high”
range. Airbus Industrie has announced orders for the new model from
TransWorld Airlines, Air France, ILFC and, most recently, America West`s
marketing partner British Airways. America West expects to configure the
A318 with 110 seats, 12 in first class and 98 in the main cabin.
America West`s A318s will be powered by a new engine, the PW6000, being
designed by the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp.
specifically for the new aircraft. The new A320 orders will be equipped with
IAE V2500-A5 engines manufactured by IAE International Aero Engines AG. The
Airline`s existing A319s and A320s are also powered by the IAE V2500.
“The commonality of the A318 with our existing Airbus fleet ensures that
the new aircraft can be cost effectively operated and maintained by the
Airline`s Airbus pilots and mechanics,” said Gilbert D. Mook, the Airline`s
executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The order includes options to purchase an additional 25 A320 family type
aircraft beginning 2004 and ending in 2006 and 25 purchase rights for A320
family aircraft for delivery beginning in 2007 and ending in 2008. Subject to
certain limitations, the arrangements provide that the specific model to be
purchased (A318, A319, A320 or A321) will be selected at the time the option
or purchase right is exercised allowing America West significant flexibility
in matching aircraft type to mission and demand. The purchase rights, a new
concept being offered to Airbus customers, provide America West with fixed
prices for the subject aircraft but postpone the determination of the aircraft
model, delivery date and the Airline`s commitment until a later date.
America West has flown the A320 since 1991 and the Airline introduced the
A319 in late 1998. America West currently operates a fleet of 37 A320 and
eight A319 aircraft with another three A320s and 14 A319s on firm order before
today`s announcement. The unexercised options included in the Airbus order
announced by America West in 1997 were relinquished as part of the new order.
America West Holdings Corporation is an aviation and travel services
company with 1998 sales of $2.0 billion. Its wholly owned subsidiary, America
West Airlines, is the nation`s ninth largest carrier serving more than
90 destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
This press release, as well as releases issued in the past year by America
West Holdings and its affiliates, can be accessed on the America West Internet
site at http://www.americawest.com.