An earliergeneration Airbus A320 Getty Images

An earlier-generation Airbus A320.

Portugal's TAP in $8.5-bn Airbus Order

TAP chief executive officer Fernando Pinto said the 53-jet order would give the airline 'the flexibility to enter new markets and improve the frequency of existing ones.'  

PARIS—Airbus on Friday announced a deal with Portuguese carrier TAP for 53 long- and medium-haul new generation neo jets, with a catalog value of $8.5 billion.

In a statement, Airbus said the order was for 14 A330-900 neo jets and 39 A320neos.

TAP, partially privatized over the summer, only uses Airbus planes. Its fleet currently comprises 43 A320 and 18 long-haul models.

The single aisle A320neo, due to come on stream at year's end, is designed to produce fuel savings of some 20% per seat compared with current generation jetliners and have greater range.

Airbus has received more than 4,300 orders for the new-generation market segment.

"With this order for 53 brand-new aircraft, TAP is reborn," said John Leahy, a top Airbus executive.

"These aircraft are the right aircraft for TAP's current missions and growth markets," he added.

TAP chief executive officer Fernando Pinto said the order would give the airline "the flexibility to enter new markets and improve the frequency of existing ones."

Portugal's outgoing conservative government on Thursday approved the sell-off of 61% of TAP to Atlantic Gateway, a consortium headed by US-Brazilian businessman David Neeleman.

Neeleman founded Brazil's third-largest carrier Azul with Portuguese associate Humberto Pedrosa.

With around 1.0 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in debt, TAP made a loss of 85.1 million euros last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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