Brazil's flagship airline TAM announced that it has signed firm orders for purchase of 46 new Airbus commercial jet aircraft, totaling US$ 6.9 billion. According to the Brazilian airline, orders placed include 22 A350 XWBs (Xtra Wide Body) models 800 and 900, to be delivered from 2013 onwards.Â
TAM, Airbus' biggest customer in the southern hemisphere, now has the largest A350 XWB fleet in South America on order and will be the first in Latin America to incorporate this aircraft into its fleet. These plane can transport from 270 to 314 passengers.
The Brazilian company also ordered four A330-200s, a model with capacity for 253 to 293 passengers – depending on cabin configuration – and should receive the first unit in 2010. Contracts also provide for the purchase of another 20 jet aircraft of the A320 family, which includes models with capacity ranging from 107 to 199 passengers.
TAM currently has a fleet of 109 aircraft, of which 102 are Airbuses. The company operates 12 A330-200 jets, plus another 88 aircraft of the A320 family, two A340-500s, as well as three MD-11s and four Fokker 100s.
This year, the number of Airbus aircraft operated by the Brazilian company should reach 123, and 136 in 2010.
Not counting destinations served by subsidiaries and partnering airlines, TAM flies to 47 different locations in Brazil and 11 outside the country: New York, Miami, Paris, London, Milan, Frankfurt, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Caracas and Montevideo.
By means of its subsidiary TAM Mercosur, the company also flies to Asunción and Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay, Córdoba, in Argentina, Santa Cruz de La Sierra and Cochabamba, in Bolivia, among other South American cities.
Company will be the first in Latin America to incorporate the A350 in its fleet dedicated to international long haul flights
"Airbus aircraft help to build on our excellence standards of through outstanding passenger comfort. The A350 XWB will provide state-of-the-art passenger comfort, while assuring lowest operating costs and low emissions. We add professionalism and know-how," said Captain David Barioni Neto, President of TAM. "The A350 XWB will allow us to continue the successful expansion we have already achieved with our A330s and A320s."
"We are very proud to have TAM, one of the most internationally renowned airlines, as the launch customer for our new A350XWB program in South America," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
"This contract is a confirmation of the trust that TAM puts in our successful partnership. We cannot value this confidence highly enough, and are certain this repeat order will also further boost TAM's impressive development. "