AIRBUS INDUSTRIE says that it believes it is "very well placed" to win further orders for narrowbody aircraft from United Airlines following the airline's choice of the 126-seat A319 to replace its Boeing 737-200s.

The consortium beat tough competition from Boeing, offering its next-generation 737, to further consolidate its sales position with United, which now joins Lufthansa as the largest customer for Airbus narrowbody aircraft.

The US airline has ordered 24 A319s, worth $900 million, bringing the total number of A319s and A320s ordered from the European consortium to 74. The same announcement brought orders for ten Boeing 747-400s, six 757s and two 777s worth $3.5 billion, all powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

As with its A320s, United's new A319s will be powered by International Aero Engines V2500 engines, and deliveries of the aircraft will begin in June 1997, continuing until mid-1999.

United still needs a further 101 narrowbodies if it is to replace all of its ageing Boeing 727s and 737s, although it has yet to confirm its intention to replace those aircraft on a one-for-one basis.

Airbus says that it is "evaluating" United's needs, calling the recent order a "vote of confidence" in its narrowbody range.

Airbus hopes to see even more single-aisled aircraft in United colours

Source: Flight International