Skybus Plans To Enter Service In 2007
This year, it appears
"October surprises" aren't limited to politics... as Airbus is
making a strong push for parity with Boeing in the year-to-date
order tally. On Thursday, the European planemaker signed a firm
agreement with Skybus, a new low-cost/low-fare airline based in
Columbus, OH, for the purchase of 65 Airbus A319 aircraft.
The order is among the largest single orders for Airbus planes
ever by a US carrier. The airline has not yet announced its engine
selection for the single-aisle aircraft.
Each of the Skybus A319s will accommodate passengers in a
single-class configuration. The number of seats and specific route
structure remains confidential while the airline gears up to enter
service in early 2007. The airline will initially operate leased
A319s as it begins non-stop service from its home base in Columbus,
while building its all-Airbus fleet.
"The significantly lower cost base delivered by operating the
A319 will enable Skybus to deliver really low fares to our
customers at our headquarters in Columbus," said Skybus Chief
Executive Officer Bill Diffenderffer. "We believe the low costs and
reliability of the A319, coupled with our low fares, will make for
an unbeatable partnership as we grow our business and offer more
low-fare destinations. We've carried out extensive research to
ensure this aircraft can deliver our goal - really low fares and
"It is exciting to get in on the ground floor of such a
promising operation as Skybus," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief
Operating Officer. "It has been a few years since an order of this
meaning and magnitude has come from a low-cost start-up airline,
and we are professionally flattered that Skybus has turned to the
A319 as the core of its fleet. It's a true testament to the
airline's confidence in our product and our people."
The A319 program was launched in 1993 with the first aircraft
entering service in 1996. It is the third derivative in the popular
A320 Family. Firm orders for the A320 Family -- consisting of the
107-seat A318, 124-seat A319, 150-seat A320 and 185-seat A321 --
currently stand at more than 4,500 aircraft from 166 customers.
The A320-family has by far been the breadwinner for Airbus this
year -- with over four-fifths of Airbus' 500+ orders to date for
some variant of the popular narrowbody.
News of the Skybus agreement comes on the heels of a 170-plane deal announced Thursday
between Airbus and the Chinese government -- pushing
Airbus' order tally to over 500 aircraft for the year. So far, that
total trails Boeing, which reports 773 net orders to