JUSTIN WASTNAGE / LONDON
Lufthansa to expand agreement with Swiss operator for business-only transatlantic flights
PrivatAir and Qatar Airways are to launch new services using Airbus's latest A319 variant, the long-range A319LR derived from the Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) version of the narrowbody twinjet.
Qatar Airways, the type's launch customer, is to use its two 110-seat A319LRs on thin routes from its Doha base, while PrivatAir will operate two 48-seat versions on Lufthansa routes from Germany to the USA. Qatar is to operate the aircraft from mid-year in two-class configurations to destinations in Asia and Europe.
"The aircraft is ideal for serving routes with low demand," says the airline. The A319LR has a range of 5,180km (2,800nm) with one auxiliary fuel tank in the cargo hold. Qatar Airways was also the launch customer for the ACJ, which it operates on a charter basis for governments and private individuals.
PrivatAir's A319LRs will be used to extend its contract with Lufthansa to operate transatlantic all-business class shuttles. From May the aircraft will link Munich with New York Newark and Düsseldorf with Chicago. PrivatAir is to lease the A319LRs to join its single Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), which it has been operating between Düsseldorf and Newark since last June on a one-year trial basis (Flight International, 3-9 December 2002). The operator says the BBJ and A319LR aircraft will not necessarily be deployed exclusively on any particular route, and the types may be interchanged for operational reasons.
The Swiss company established its German operations in Hamburg last week and will transfer all three aircraft to its German aircraft operators' certificate. PrivatAir also operates an employee shuttle between Airbus facilities using two A319s leased from CIT Aerospace.