Atlantic Coast Order for Airbus

PRNewswire-FirstCall DULLES, Va. Nov. 18 :

Atlantic Coast Airlines, the Dulles, VA-based carrier (ACA) announced it
has entered into agreements to acquire 25 Airbus A320-family aircraft,
with options for additional aircraft. These efficient, passenger-friendly
aircraft will form the backbone of the fleet for the company`s low-fare
airline. The first of these aircraft will arrive in September 2004 and
will be ready for revenue service as early as November 2004.

The company has entered into a binding memorandum of understanding with
Airbus for a firm order of ten new A319 aircraft configured with 132
seats, and five new A320 aircraft configured with 156 seats, including
full conversion rights. It has also entered into leasing commitments from
operating lessors for ten additional A319 aircraft. Each aircraft will
feature IAE V2500-A5 engines. The aircraft will be equipped in a
single-class configuration, and will offer passengers a comfortable 33
inches of legroom between most rows.
Atlantic Coast Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kerry Skeen
said, “Today`s announcement represents a major step forward in our
strategy to transform the company into one of the leading low-fare
carriers in the industry. The addition of the Airbus aircraft to our fleet
will allow us to fly coast-to-coast from our hub at Washington Dulles to
serve major destinations beyond the reach of the CRJ-200. This is a key
component in our plan to offer consumers in the Washington, DC area and
across the country an airline with low, simple fares, excellent service
and convenient schedules featuring frequent departures and flexible
ticketing rules.
“We are pleased with the favorable economics and business terms we have
achieved in this deal. By placing the order at this time we are able to
take advantage of these favorable terms as well as delivery positions that
are currently available, which are critical to the implementation of our
low-fare strategy.” He added, “Our Board`s decision to go with Airbus
aircraft was the result of an intense bidding process. The company
received competitive proposals from airframe, engine, and equipment
suppliers, all of whom were vying to participate in this order following
their extensive review of our business plan. We believe that this
agreement clearly demonstrates the confidence that Airbus and our new
lessors have in our new business plan.”

Atlantic Coast Airlines is uniquely positioned to execute its strategy to
establish an independent low-fare airline. The Washington, DC metropolitan
area is the fifth largest air travel market in the U.S. with more than 40
million local passengers per year. The company`s existing infrastructure
will provide immediate critical mass at Dulles, and the company believes
that its cost structure will allow it to operate its Airbus aircraft at
competitive costs relative to other low-fare carriers. The company`s
pilots have voiced their clear support for the company`s business strategy
by overwhelmingly approving competitive pay scales and work rules for the
operation of the these aircraft as part of their recently announced
revised contract.
With 44 gates, 87 regional jets and a fleet that will include at least 25
Airbus jets, ACA will operate more than 325 daily departures from Dulles,
offering high-frequency service to a large number of markets for both
local and connecting passengers. The company`s high-utilization operation
and low distribution costs will allow it to offer walk-up fares up to 70%
lower than those offered today for service to and from Washington Dulles.

The company intends to implement its new independent low-cost carrier
strategy as soon as its existing contract with United Airlines has been
terminated. The name and branding identity for the low-fare airline will
be revealed at a ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, November 19th at
2:00pm, to be held at ACA`s state-of-the-art Washington Dulles maintenance
ACA currently operates as United Express and Delta Connection in the
Eastern and Midwestern United States as well as Canada. On July 28, 2003,
ACA announced plans to establish a new, independent low-fare airline to be
based at Washington Dulles International Airport. The company currently
has a fleet of 148 aircraft-including a total of 120 regional jets-and
offers over 840 daily departures, serving 84 destinations. ACA employs
approximately 4,600 aviation professionals.


The common stock of parent company Atlantic Coast Airlines Holdings, Inc.
is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACAI. For more
information about ACA, visit our website at

Statements in this press release and by company executives regarding its
implementation of new business strategies and its relationship with United
Airlines, Inc., regarding the unsolicited acquisition proposal by Mesa Air
Group, Inc. and other matters, as well as regarding operations, earnings,
revenues and costs, represent forward-looking information. A number of
risks and uncertainties exist which could cause actual results to differ
materially from these projected results. Such risks and uncertainties
include, among others: whether Mesa Air Group, Inc. succeeds in its
efforts to take control of the company through its proposed consent
solicitation and to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company`s
common stock; the costs of reviewing and responding to the unsolicited
Mesa proposal, and other impacts of the proposal on the company`s
operations; United`s option under bankruptcy rules to assume or reject the
existing United Express Agreement; the timing of any disengagement by the
company as a United Express carrier under the United Express Agreement or
pursuant to bankruptcy court proceedings and impact on the company`s
ability to operate an independent airline; the ability to successfully
implement a transition from United Express service; the ability to
effectively implement its low-fare business strategy utilizing a mix of
narrowbody aircraft and regional jets; the ability to acquire and obtain
financing for the narrowbody aircraft; the ability to compete effectively
as a low-cost carrier, including passenger response to its new service,
and the response of United or other competitors with respect to service
levels and fares in markets to be operated by the company; the
availability of additional or alternative business opportunities for the
company`s operations; the effects of United`s bankruptcy proceedings; the
continued financial health of Delta Air Lines, Inc., and the ability and
willingness of Delta to continue to deploy the company`s aircraft and to
utilize and pay for scheduled service at agreed upon rates; availability
and cost of product support for the company`s 328JET aircraft; unexpected
costs arising from the insolvency of Fairchild Dornier; general economic
and industry conditions; additional acts of war or terrorism; and risks
and uncertainties arising from the events of September 11, any of which
may impact the company, its aircraft manufacturers and its other suppliers
in ways that the company is not currently able to predict. Certain of
these and other risk factors are more fully disclosed under “Risk Factors”
and “Management`s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and
Results of Operations” in the company`s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the
year ended December 31, 2002 and in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for
the nine-month period ended September 30, 2003. These statements are made
as of November 18, 2003 and ACA undertakes no obligation to update any
such forward-looking information, including as a result of any new
information, future events, changed expectations or otherwise.