US low-cost start-up Skybus has placed a firm order with Airbus for 65 A319s.

Airbus says the contract represents one of the largest single orders ever by a US carrier. The European manufacturer says the delivery schedule for the aircraft has yet to be decided.

Columbus, Ohio-based Skybus will initially operate leased A319s when it launches operations in early 2007. No engine type has been selected.

“It has been a few years since an order of this meaning and magnitude has come from a low-cost start-up airline,” says Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy.

Skybus has not disclosed any details regarding its planned route network.

Last month the carrier said it would launch in spring 2007 from Ohio’s Port Columbus International Airport after receiving commitments of up to $57 million in cash and capacity improvements from local, city and state officials.

The financial assistance, which included tax credits, grants, performance incentives and loans, consisted of a $16 million package from the Ohio state development agency and more than $14 million from the city of Columbus.

Columbus’s regional airport authority, which expects Skybus to create about 1,000 jobs, has committed up to $27 million, including $4 million from its airline incentive program and $23 million in infrastructure enhancements such as additional restrooms, expanded security checkpoints and baggage claim improvements.

The company also claims to have another $100 million in funding from private investors.