British Midland today confirmed it had chosen Airbus Industrie as its long-haul aircraft supplier. The airline has placed a firm order for four wide-bodied A330-200 aircraft, with options on a further eight. The total value of the order is £1.2 billion (US$1.9 billion).
The airline will take delivery of the first two aircraft in April and May 2001. The A330-200 has a range of 6,400 nautical miles (11,850km), making it suitable for transatlantic and other long-haul routes. It has a capacity of between 200 and 300 seats, dependent on configuration.
British Midland has yet to make a decision on the engine supplier for the aircraft. A choice will be made between Rolls-Royce, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of British Midland, said:
“This order underlines our commitment to operate long-haul services next year, an integral part of our future growth strategy.”
“For the past two years, we have been campaigning for the right to begin air services to the United States from Heathrow. At the same time, we have been busy putting in place the infrastructure to operate long-haul services. This order confirms our firm intention to inaugurate long-haul routes in 2001.”
“By operating such services with these aircraft, we can create 2,000 jobs at British Midland. By choosing Airbus, we have also made a clear commitment to British, and European, industry and jobs.”
“Thousands more new jobs would result if British and American governments could agree on Open Skies between the two countries.”