North African airline, Tunisair,
has signed a letter of acceptance with Airbus for the acquisition of three
Airbus A350-800s, three A330-200s and ten A320s, as part of an important fleet development plan.
With this acquisition, Tunisair is the third African airline to order the all-new A350 XWB. Tunisair currently already has 12 A320s, four A319s
of which two with extended range capability and three A300-600s in operation.
The all-new, eco-efficient A350s will
be used by Tunisair on long haul
routes to North America and Asia. Meanwhile, the A330s will allow the airline to modernize its wide-body fleet and seamlessly enter the long
haul market with new routes to North America in the near future.
Furthermore, the A320s will allow Tunisair to renew and expand its regional operations with more efficient and cost effective aircraft
complementing its current fleet.
"This acquisition is part of a major fleet development that will allow Tunisair to prepare for the future and take up the market opportunities
that exist for our airline," said Mr. Chettaoui, President and CEO of Tunisair group. "The A330s and later on the A350 will really complement
our A320 fleet which is already performing extremely well. This acquisition will provide Tunisair with the most modern, efficient and
comfortable aircraft that perfectly respond to our needs in terms of range, passenger capacity and operational costs", he continued.
The longstanding relationship
between the two companies started in 1980, when Tunisair placed its first order for an Airbus A300B4. It has built up its Airbus fleet from
then onwards, with the first A320 order placed in 1988, one of the first orders for Africa. In another pioneering move, with the order in 2006
for the A319 Extended-Range, Tunisair was the first airline to start operating this aircraft type in Africa, benefiting from Airbusí continuous
efforts for innovation and technological advancements.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body)
with a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, is available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800
accommodating 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 for 350 passengers.
Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines delivering each up to
92,000 lbs of thrust, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns.
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