Shenzhen Airlines has welcomed the delivery of its first two Airbus A319s, making it the newest operator of this aircraft type in China.
The aircraft will be configured in a two-class layout, which will provide ample space for 128 passengers. They will be put into service on the routes linking Shenzhen and other major cities in China, including some new and high-altitude routes.
"The Airbus' A320 Family features the newest and most modern design of any single-aisle airliner," said Shenzhen Airlines President Zhao Xiang. "We received our first Airbus aircraft, an Airbus A320, in May 2005 and today we are delighted to become a new operator of the Airbus A319 in China."
"Selection of the new A319 is part of our strategy for the further expansion of our fleet and the extension of our air networks. The new A319 aircraft will also help us open new and high-altitude routes in the future," said Zhao.
Founded in 1992, Shenzhen Airlines now flies to more than 90 domestic and international destinations.
Comprising the A318, A319, A320 and A321 models, the A320 family has become the most successful and best-selling aircraft family in the world. By the end of 2005, firm orders for the Airbus A320 Family stood at some 4,300 aircraft, more than 2,600 of which have been delivered.
The A319, first delivered in April 1996, continues to prove its versatility, enabling carriers to benefit from its range of options and flexibility in seat lay-out.
The first A319 on the Chinese mainland made a successful demonstration flight over Lhasa International Airport in 2001. Since then, it has been widely used by Chinese airlines and has become known as "the Mountain Goat" as it is used mainly on the high-altitude routes.
Currently, six Chinese mainland airlines operate nearly 70 A319s, accounting for more than a quarter of all 247 in-service Airbus aircraft on the Chinese mainland.
(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2006)