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Qantas becomes launch customer for the A3XX while also ordering A330s

Qantas has become an A3XX launch customer while also ordering A330s in a major fleet modernisation plan…

Qantas<.> has become an A3XX launch customer while also ordering A330s in a major fleet modernisation plan that will see it become an Airbus customer for the first time.

Qantas has signed for 12 A3XXs and taken a number of undisclosed options, confirming its earlier expression of interest in the world`s newest and largest airliner. The A3XXs will provide extra capacity on the kangaroo route between Australia and the UK, via Singapore and Bangkok, on which Qantas currently operates 17 B747 flights each week.

The A3XXs will also provide growth on non-stop trans-Pacific flights between Australia and the United States with improved payload capability for passenger and freight.

Deliveries of the Qantas A3XXs will begin in 2006. Each of the Qantas A3XXs will seat 524 passengers in a high comfort, long-range first, business and economy layout. Engines will be selected early next year.

In addition the Qantas commitment for 13 aircraft of the A330 family will provide for growth on domestic trunk routes and international regional routes.

Deliveries of the A330s will begin in the second quarter of 2002. The A330-200s will seat around 35 passengers in Business Class and 262 in Economy Class in the domestic configuration and the A330-300s will accommodate 36 Business Class and 278 Economy Class in the international configuration.

Our selection of the Airbus A3XX and A330 reflects both our commitment to quality service for our passengers, and to the most economical aircraft that will help us to deliver shareholder value, said Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson. With their wide cabins, the A330 and the A3XX will bring enhanced comfort for our passengers, enabling us to meet growth while increasing efficiency and achieving benefits from commonality of aircraft type.

Qantas is one of the world`s major airlines and has some of the longest routes in the world, and enjoys a well deserved reputation for technical excellence, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Noel Forgeard. We are delighted to see Qantas becoming not only an Airbus customer but also a launch customer for the all-new A3XX.

Including Qantas, five renown customers have placed orders for a total of 44 A3XXs and taken 36 options. When it enters service in 2006, the A3XX will bring new standards of flying to the whole world. It will introduce wider seats and a more spacious cabin for all passengers, as well as 15-20 per cent lower operating costs per seat than today`s largest competing airliner. Designed to use existing airports, the A3XX will help airlines to cope with the doubling of passenger traffic that will occur in the next 15 years, especially on heavily travelled trunk routes.

Airbus Industrie`s A330/A340 family offers the best passenger comfort in its class, consistently emerging as the passengers` choice in independent surveys. It remains the market leader, with some 650 firm orders from almost 60 customers.

Airbus Industrie, which is owned by BAE SYSTEMS and EADS, offers airlines the world`s most modern and comprehensive airliner family for the 21st century.

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