A350 Gets Another Shot in the Arm After TAM Firms Order

It seems like only yesterday (well, Paris in June) that Falcon 2000 business jet was readying to announce whether it would affirm its original order for Airbus A350 aircraft or acquire Boeing 787 twinjets. At that time, TAM president Marco Bologna predicted an announcement would come within 30 days. True to Bologna’s word, the Brazilian carrier signed a MOU for 22 A350 XWBs on June 28 2007.

Sadly, about three weeks later, TAM was faced with a tragedy of significant scale, when one of its Airbus A320s crashed on landing at Sao Paolo. The catastrophe claimed 199 lives. In the wake of the accident, TAM’s focus rightly shifted to investigating the cause, and tackling a new climate of fear in Brazil (as well as media speculation over the crash), rather than acquiring new aircraft.

Today the carrier reaffirmed its position as a major player in Latin America by firming up its order for 22 A350 XWB models 800 and 900. The aircraft will be delivered from 2013 onwards.

TAM also confirmed the acquisition of four A330-200 aircraft with deliveries from 2010 onwards and of 20 more aircraft from the A320 family. According to the price list, the total value of the 46 aircraft is approximately $ 6.9 billion.

The deal is also very good news for Airbus, which saw TAM order four more Boeing 777-300ERs last year (for a total of eight). During a recent interview with Airline Business, Bologna explained the Boeing purchase. “We had to increase capacity and we could do this only by increasing the size of the aircraft,” he said. The airline compared the Airbus A340-600 and the 777-300ER and in August ordered another four 777-300ERs for delivery in 2012.

(Photo courtesy of Agencia Brasil http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/TAM_Linhas_Aéreas_Flight_3054.jpg )

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