Brazilian airline TAM Linhas Aéreas confirmed its intention to acquire 20 Airbus single-aisle A318 aircraft at a ceremony held today at the Paris Le Bourget International Air Show 2001.
TAM's A318s will seat 120 passengers in a luxurious single class. The carrier will operate the A318s on Brazilian domestic routes, gradually replacing its F100 fleet which currently totals more than 50 units.
Airbus' largest single customer in Latin America, TAM already operates seven long-range widebody twin A330-200s on international routes from Brazil to the USA and Europe, as well as six A319s on its shuttle system (Super Ponte TAM) between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and twelve A320s on its domestic network serving main Brazilian cities.
"Our selection of the A318 will ease operational planning for TAM, thanks to the aircraft's full flight commonality with the A319, A320 and A330 which we already operate," said Cmte Rolim Adolfo Amaro President and Chairman of the TAM Group. "Airbus' unique family concept means that pilots can transition from each of these aircraft to any other with only minimal additional training while spares commonality greatly facilitates maintenance, and this in turn reduces our operating costs. With the A318, A319 and A320 in its domestic fleet, TAM is well set to fulfill its ambition of becoming the unchallenged N°1 on the Brazilian domestic market with more than 50 per cent of the market."
"We are very proud that TAM, our largest customer in Latin America, is confirming its confidence in our products for the third time since it first became a launch customer for the A330-200 in October 1996," said Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Noël Forgeard. "With the A318, TAM will be able to provide the same high quality service on its entire domestic network."
TAM will eventually operate a fleet of over 150 Airbus aircraft, the largest in Latin America and will thus benefit from the full operational commonality that exists between the A320 and A330 Families.
To date, the best-selling A320 Family has attracted more than 2,800 firm orders from 107 customers. Almost 1,500 single-aisle Airbus aircraft are flying with 94 operators worldwide. With more than 4,400 total orders booked to date, Airbus is the joint number one manufacturer in the market for commercial aircraft seating more than 100 passengers.
Headquartered in Toulouse (France), Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.