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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 21:50 GMT
Airbus jets for Italy and Mexico
Airbus A320
Airbus has delivered more than 2,600 A320 planes
Airbus has received firm orders for 46 passenger aircraft from airlines in Italy and Mexico.

Air One, a carrier with 25% of the Italian market, ordered 30 Airbus A320 and announced options to buy a further 60 of the 159-seater planes.

Mexican start-up airline Volaris will buy 16 of the slightly smaller Airbus A319, with 40 options for A320 planes.

The deals give Airbus an early edge over Boeing; last year both firms were competing neck-and-neck on sales.

Air One, founded 10 years ago, will use the Airbus A320 to replace its current fleet of 30 Boeing 737s.

The deal is worth about $1.8bn (1bn).

Company president Carlo Toto said he had opted for the A320 as "the most efficient and comfortable aircraft available".

In a swipe at troubled rival Alitalia, the Italian flagship carrier, he said Air One had "never weighed on the state budget".

Mr Toto said Air One would exercise 10 of its options for additional A320s as early as this year.

Airbus managers, who last year may have narrowly failed to beat US rival Boeing in the number of aircraft ordered, were quick to point out that Air One was the 44th company to switch from Boeing to Airbus.

Volaris takes off

Mexican start-up airline Volaris meanwhile plans to take off with smaller Airbus A319 aeroplanes, which can seat 144 people in a single-class set-up.

The airline plans to fly from its home base at Toluca airport near Mexico City to domestic destinations like Monterrey and Tijuana.

Until its 16 Airbus are delivered, the company will start operations with four leased Airbus A319.

Volaris has ambitious expansion plans, with options for 40 of the larger A320 aircraft.

The company is owned jointly by Mexican bank Inbursa, investment bank Protego-Discovery, television group Televisa and Taca, a leading Latin-American airline formed 25 years ago after a merger of five national airlines.

Airbus is a joint venture between European aerospace giant EADS, which controls 80% of the company, and British firm BAE Systems, which owns the rest.




SEE ALSO:
BMW to co-design Airbus interior
06 Jan 06 |  Business
Boeing unveils record order book
05 Jan 06 |  Business
Airbus v Boeing: The next battle
26 Apr 05 |  Business
EADS finally names its new bosses
26 Jun 05 |  Business


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