Mike Martin

Airbus Industrie has a firm commitment and a letter of intent for 22 of the planned A3XX. The European airframer also announced a $3.6 billion deal for 50 aircraft from CiT.

At the show yesterday, Emirates became the first airline to sign a firm commitment and place a deposit for five passenger versions, two freighters and five options. Shortly afterwards, Air France signed a letter of intent for ten A3XXs. They are two of nine airlines six named and three unnamed that have expressed an interest in the aircraft.

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum says: "Our success has been built on providing our passengers the highest standards of comfort, service and entertainment a trend that the A3XX will help us continue by introducing a new way of flying as the flagship of the fleet.

"The A3XX will also enable us to carry more passengers to and from congested airports with limited take-off and landing slots.

"Emirates plans to use the A3XXs to cope with passenger and cargo growth on trunk routes from its Dubai base, including London, Asia-Pacific and North America. Each aircraft will seat 575 passengers in first, business and economy class.

Air France, with its sights on ten A3XX double-deck aircraft, also confirmed interest shown earlier this year with the signing of a letter of intent. Airline president Jean-Cyril Spinetta says: "The projected growth in air traffic we see, together with the totally new standards in terms of passenger comfort and economics that the A3XX will introduce in the very large capacity market while being extremely environmentally friendly, has convinced us that this aircraft is ideally suited to Air France¹s 21st century needs.

"Meanwhile, Airbus announced the first of what it says will be 200 aircraft orders during Farnborough. CIT Aerospace, a US-based financial services corporation, signed a letter of intent for 35 single aisle aircraft and 15 Airbus A330s, including the planned A330-500. The order covers all members of the A320 family. Noel Forgeard, Airbus chief executive, says that the A3XX programme expected to be launched into the production phase by the end of the year does not mean that other programmes will be neglected.

"It is true that we will have a lot to do with A3XX but we will always stand behind existing products."

Source: Flight Daily News