Lebanon’s national airline, Middle East Airlines (MEA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus aircraft manufacturer, covering the sale of six Airbus A321s planes. The deal is set to double the size of MEA’s fleet.
The catalogue value of such deal may reach up to $350 million. MEA Chairman Mohamad Al-Hout stated that up to 75 percent of the funds would be obtained from the international capital markets, while the rest of the financing is expected to come from local and international banks.
The aircraft will be purchased by MEA for delivery between the end of 2002 and 2004. MEA has been operating Airbus aircraft on lease since 1997, and the airliner reportedly plans to rent three additional Airbus A330s.
The A321, seating 150 passengers in MEA’s layout, has a range of up to 5,550 kilometers. It will allow the Lebanese carrier to benefit from operating cost savings resulting from commonality with its current fleet of A320 Family aircraft, as well as its future A330-200s, which MEA recently announced it would be acquiring on lease.
The A321 is a member of the Airbus single-aisle family of aircraft. The A318, A319, A320 and A321 are all derived from the same fuselage and provide operators with aircraft commonality and economy. These aircraft also share a high degree of technical commonality with Airbus’ A330/A340 Family, so the same pool of pilots and technicians can fly and maintain both, resulting in savings for operators and enhanced fleet efficiency.
According to a company press release, the A321 is the most economical aircraft in its class, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprints in its size category. The twin-engined A321 can be powered by either CFM International CFM56 or International Aero En-gines V2500 engines.
Airbus is an affiliate of European aerospace firm EADS. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the US, China and Japan. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )