(NSI News Source Info) BLAGNAC, France - July 18, 2009: During a ceremony held at Hamburg, Germany, Shanghai Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus aircraft, an A321, becoming a new operator of Airbus aircraft. The aircraft is the first of 10 A321s ordered by the Shanghai-based carrier in 2006 and 2007.
Powered by IAE V2533-A5 engines, the carrier's first A321 is fitted in an all-new, comfortable two-class configuration with 178 seats (166 seats in Economy, 12 in Business Class). The aircraft will initially be deployed on domestic routes followed in the future by regional routes including Japan and Korea.
"Introducing A321s to our fleet was a strategic decision for Shanghai Airlines in anticipation of the future growth of the domestic as well as international air traffic market," said Zhou Chi, Chairman of Shanghai Airlines. "After 20 years of fast, steady and all round development, Shanghai Airlines is becoming an international airline based in the regional hub of Shanghai. The introduction of the highly reliable and efficient Airbus A320 Family aircraft will help Shanghai Airlines to expand its new base, develop domestic routes network and increase capacity in order to meet increasing passenger demand," added Zhou.The airline was established and started operations in 1985. It was founded by the Shanghai municipal government as the first independently-run local airline in China. It was initially restricted to domestic flights, but in September 1997, it won government approval to operate international services. In October 2002, it began to issue shares on the Shanghai stock market. It launched domestic freighter services in May 2004. It is the fifth-largest airline of China in terms of fleet size. In 2006, a cargo airline, Shanghai Airlines Cargo, was established with Taiwan-based EVA Air. In its 22-year history, with the contribution of its well-recognized Flight Operations Quality Assurance(FOQA) program, Shanghai Airlines has had zero accidents, fatalities or severe damage to its aircraft, making it one of the safest airlines in Asia; and possibly the world. *
"We are delighted to welcome Shanghai Airlines as a new Airbus operator. With its all new cabin and low operational costs, the A321 will enable Shanghai Airlines to satisfy passenger needs, whilst also meeting operational requirements," said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. "As a major financial centre and home of the next World Expo, Shanghai will undoubtedly experience rapid growth and we are honoured to be part of this success," added Enders.
Shanghai Airlines was set up in 1985. Headquartered in Shanghai, the carrier now operates 68 aircraft on more than 170 domestic, regional and international passenger and freighter routes linking over 60 destinations across China and around the world. Shanghai Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance.
The A320 Family is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. With more than 6,300 aircraft sold, and over 3,900 aircraft delivered to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, the A320 Family is the world's best-selling single-aisle aircraft family. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. The Family comprises four aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321) that share unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range.
The A321 is the largest member of the Airbus A320 Family. It typically seats 185 passengers in a two-class layout and has a non-stop flying range of 3,000 nautical miles or 5,550 kilometres. By the end of May 2009, almost 400 A320 Family aircraft are in operation with 12 operators in China. Chinese airlines have ordered close to 600 A320 Family aircraft in total.