Toulouse: Leading Brazilian carrier TAM Linhas Aéreas has signed a MoU for 22 Airbus' 350 XWBs, as well as for four additional A330-200s. TAM was the launch customer for the A350 in Latin America when it signed a contract for 10 aircraft in December 2005. After evaluation of the new A350 XWB programme, TAM has more than doubled its requirement for the aircraft.
TAM currently operates a fleet of 86 Airbus aircraft, including 15 A319s, 61 A320s and 10 A330-200s on its international routes to New York, Miami, London and Paris, and is Airbus' largest customer in Latin America.
"We thoroughly reviewed the A350 XWB programme, and we are very confident that this aircraft will set new standards of passenger comfort, operating economics and low emissions in our growing long-haul markets" said Marco Bologna, president, TAM.
"The A330s in our fleet already provide us with an excellent level of economics combined with superior passenger appeal. The A350 XWB will further consolidate our successful growth into the future, and responds to our needs for our long-term development," Bologna added.
"We are very proud to have a successful, well respected airline like TAM confirm its choice for the A350 XWB", said John Leahy, chief operating officer (customers) at Airbus. He added, "We are very grateful for this strong endorsement of the A350 XWB programme, and with the additional four A330s we are also pleased to be playing a major role in TAM's continued expansion of its long-haul network. We are delighted with our long-standing partnership with TAM, and look forward to continuing this relationship into the future."
Airbus says with TAM's order, it has total firm orders and commitments for the A350 XWB 254 aircraft (154 firm orders and 100 commitments).
The manufacturer says the A350 XWB (extra wide-body) is Airbus' newest aircraft model and will be the world's most technically advanced aircraft when it enters service in 2013 as was designed to increase productivity and offer unparalleled levels of passenger comfort.
The A350 XWB will offer the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile costs of any aircraft in that category, it said and added that the aircraft would be be one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft ever.
According to the company, the A330 has more than 60 customers and operators around the world and is the unquestioned leader in its with a commanding market share and a continually expanding operator base as it provides the operator with a significant competitive advantage in the market today through very low operating costs per seat, as well as the widest and most comfortable cabin in its category.
So far, TAM operates 10 A330-200s
Airbus is an EADS company.