KLM is to buy six Airbus A330-200s in a deal worth an estimated $900 million that breaks the domination of Boeing in the Dutch carrier's widebody fleet. The deal also embraces a further 18 A330-200s being considered by KLM under a "right to purchase" agreement.


At the same time as yesterday's announcement, KLM also confirmed it is raising its recent Boeing widebody order by two aircraft, to 13.

The 18-aircraft right to purchase agreement avoids potential payments by KLM under the more familiar option scheme. KLM may add additional Airbus aircraft through direct purchase or leasing agreements.

"This combination gives us the maximum flexibility," Peter Hartman, KLM managing director, said yesterday. "Nobody inside or outside our industry can predict the future. Many airlines have stopped or postponed new orders.

"KLM is financially strong and confident in our future and that is why we are making these investment orders now."

John Leahy, Airbus executive vice-president, commercial said: "KLM had previously been an Airbus customer so this is a major milestone for us. One aircraft does not make a fleet and I'm hopeful that at some point in the future KLM will order larger aircraft, maybe even the A380."

So far, no decision has been made by KLM on an engine to power the Airbus aircraft. The additions to KLM's recent order for Boeing aircraft are two Boeing 777-200ER (Extended Range) aircraft. The order now stands at 10 B777-200ERs and three B747-400ER freighters.

Deliveries of both models will begin in late 2003

Source: Flight Daily News