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TAM to order 20 additional A320s and five more A350s

Brazil's TAM has announced plans to order 20 additional Airbus A320 family aircraft and five additional Airbus A350-900s.

The new Star Alliance member signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus today at the ILA Berlin Air Show outlining the new 25-aircraft order.

The order for five A350-900s is inaddition to the 12 A350-900s and 10 A350-800s TAM previously ordered.

TAM currently operates a mixed widebody fleet consisting of Boeing 767-300ERs, Boeing 777-300ERs, Airbus A330-200s and Airbus A340-500s. The carrier plans to replace all these types except the 777-300ER with A350s from 2013 and also use the A350 to launch new long-haul routes.

TAM A350-900, Airbus
 © Airbus

TAM says the 20 A320 family aircraft to be ordered will be used to replace 20 existing A320 family aircraft, in line with its commitment to keep an average fleet age of only six years. According to Flightglobal's ACAS database, TAM currently operates a fleet of 109 A320 family aircraft with outstanding orders for another 44 aircraft.

"With this new order, we can offer our customers one of the youngest fleets in the world of aviation," TAM CEO Líbano Barroso says in a statement. "Additionally, these new aircraft will allow us to continue our strategy of operating a common fleet throughout our domestic market."

TAM has been evaluating other aircraft types in the 100 to 150-seat category, including the Embraer E-195, as part of a plan to acquire up to 20 new aircraft for its Pantanal unit. It is unclear if some or all of the A320 family aircraft from the new order will be operated by Pantanal, which was acquired by TAM last year and currently operates ATR 42s.

TAM's A320 fleet currently includes aircraft powered by both available engines - the CFM International CFM56 and IAE V2500. TAM has not yet selected an engine for the 20 additional A320s covered in today's announcement.

TAM's A350-900s will be powered with Rolls-Royce engines.

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