I think Boeing needs to reevaluate their 737 product much sooner rather than later.. They are just not competitive... for whatever reason... a sad situation for Boeing....
Air Berlin, Germany's second-biggest airline, has agreed to order 70 Airbus A320
aircraft, worth EUR4 billion (USD$5.09 billion), with options for 40 more, it said on Thursday.
The planes will be delivered starting autumn 2005 until 2011. Ten of the 70 planes will go to the carrier's Austrian partner airline, Niki, a spokesman for Air Berlin said.
"We have today signed a notice of intent with Airbus," the spokesman said.
Until now, Air Berlin has operated with a fleet almost entirely made up of Boeing 737 planes.
The move mirrors a decision by low-cost rival easyJet, which in recent years has opted to switch to a mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes to help build capacity across Europe, including Germany. EasyJet said the Airbus planes would give it lower operating costs than its existing Boeing fleet.
Europe's largest low-cost carrier, Ryanair, which is also expanding its European network, has stuck to a fleet of Boeing 737s, claiming a single-make fleet enabled it to keep costs down.
Air Berlin said some of its existing fleet of about 45 planes would be replaced as the new Airbus aircraft were delivered.
European aerospace company EADS, which owns 80 percent of Airbus and makes most of its revenues from selling Airbus aircraft in competition with US rival Boeing, raised its main 2004 forecasts on Thursday after Airbus signalled growth in deliveries.
The UK's BAE Systems owns the remaining 20 percent of Airbus.