Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), Saudi Arabia's national airline, has signed a firm contract with Airbus for 22 A320 aircraft, as part of its fleet modernisation plan. This follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the 10th Dubai Airshow in November 2007. The agreement allows Saudia to increase the order by eight further A320s.
The contract marks the first time Saudi Arabian Airlines has placed an order with Airbus in more than two decades. Previously, Saudi Arabian Airlines was the launch customer for the A300-600, which was first delivered to Saudia in 1984.
The firm contract reflects a period of rapid expansion of the aviation market in the region, with Saudia experiencing unprecedented demand for air travel.
"The Airbus A320 is the right aircraft for our ambitious fleet renewal plans. The aircraft combines operational efficiency as well as cabin comfort for our customers, and will enable Saudia to meet rising passenger demand and expectations", said His Excellency Engineer Khalid al Molhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines.
"We're delighted Saudi Arabian Airlines has decided to expand their fleet with our Airbus A320 aircraft. Saudia is one of the biggest and the longest-established airlines in the Middle East, and we hope that the contract today marks a renewed partnership for the future", said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Over 5,600 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold, and over 3,300 delivered to more than 200 operators worldwide, making it the worlds best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. In addition, the latest new cabin design saves on weight and offers the passenger a quieter and roomier experience as well as significantly larger overhead stowage lockers. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.