Deliveries Will Start Earlier Than Planned
They're making hay while the sun
shines over at US Airways. Bolstered by stronger-than-expected
earnings so far this year, on Wednesday the airline formed by the
merger of American West and US Airways added seven new Airbus A321s
to its standing order for 30 Airbus A320-family aircraft.
The carrier also converted one order for an A320, and seven A319
orders, into larger A321s. All told, the change covers 15 A321
planes, with first deliveries expected in July 2008 -- six months
earlier than originally planned.
"This transaction provides important fleet flexibility to US
Airways," said Chairman, President and CEO Doug Parker. "The
expanded and accelerated order positions will either allow US
Airways to replace less efficient aircraft more quickly or allow
for modest expansion should market conditions warrant."
The A321 aircraft will be configured to accommodate 183
passengers in two classes of service (16 first class, 167 main
cabin). US Airways also retains conversion flexibility within the
A320 family on the remaining 22 aircraft.
"US Airways was our very
first U.S. airline customer for the A321, following much success
with other variants of the A320 Family," said Christian Streiff,
Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer. "For an airline to
come back for more of an aircraft that, for them, was a new
experience, is a great vote of confidence for the integrity of the
Airbus product line."
Firm orders for the A320 Family - consisting of the A318, A319,
A320 and A321 - currently stand at nearly 4,500 aircraft from 162
The recently merged US Airways and America West fly the largest
fleet (205) of Airbus aircraft in the world, including single-aisle
and widebody aircraft. US Airways and America West's recent merger
creates the fifth largest domestic airline employing nearly 35,000
aviation professionals. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US
Airways Express operate approximately 3,800 flights per day and
serve more than 230 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the
Caribbean and Latin America.