Ireland ‘s carrier, Aer Lingus today announced that, subject to Board and shareholder approval, it had concluded a deal with Airbus to supply the airline’s new European fleet.
Under the deal Aer Lingus will acquire 17 A320 aircraft. Seven of the aircraft will be purchased outright and ten will be leased from ILFC. Together with the six A321s and four A320s already in the fleet this will mean a total short-haul fleet of 27 Airbus aircraft. The deal also includes options for a further ten A320 aircraft.
The deal will see the airline transition to a single fleet type for its European operation by the end of 2005 and add 15 new routes to its rapidly expanding network by Summer 2005.
This will bring to 30 the number of new routes opened by Aer Lingus since the end of 2001.
Aer Lingus also announced that engine manufacturer, CFM, will provide the engines for the new fleet as part of the proposed deal.
Announcing the conclusion of a comprehensive and highly competitive fifteen month process, Aer Lingus Chief Executive Willie Walsh said: ‘It is an excellent financial deal achieved at precisely the right time in the industry cycle. Most importantly, it reinforces the transformation of Aer Lingus into a low fares airline that offers a way better service.
‘The move to a single aircraft type is a key element in our business strategy bringing very significant cost savings while increasing capacity and greatly improving our operational flexibility.’