Doha-based national carrier, Qatar Airways, has signed a firm contract for 24 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The agreement includes the firming up of a contract for four A321 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Air show in July 2008.
Qatar Airways currently operates 19 A320 Family aircraft, the Middle East's largest fleet. The new aircraft configured with a two-class cabin will be deployed to enhance and expand services on regional, Eastern European and south west Asia services.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: "The additional Airbus A320s and A321s give Qatar Airways a firm footing in the rapid development and expansion of our regional network. Qatar Airways is determined to grow with the world's best aircraft at the heart of a modern and fuel efficient fleet, and this A320 Family order will ensure that our narrow-body fleet is the youngest and best equipped in the region."
In addition to 19 A320 Family aircraft, Qatar's current in-service fleet includes four A340-600s and the region's largest fleet of 29 A330s.
"Qatar Airways's partnership with Airbus dates back to the early 1990's, and we take great pride that it is stronger today than ever before. Qatar already operates a modern fleet of eco-efficient Airbus' and we are delighted that with the equally efficient A320, Airbus is forming the backbone of Qatar's modern fleet," said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.
Qatar Airways is one of the world's leading airlines, with a fleet that includes A320s, A300Fs, A330s and A340 aircraft including the ACJ corporate jet. Qatar Airways is also a customer for the 21st Century flagship, the A380 and is the largest customer for the A350 XWB.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Over 6,300 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and almost 3,900 delivered to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the worlds best selling commercial jetliner ever.
With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.