Airbus, Italy's Air One to sign long-range airplane supply deal Wednesday


Milan (Thomson Financial) - EADS unit Airbus and Italy's Air One airline will on Wednesday sign an agreement for Airbus to supply long-range airplanes to the expanding Italian carrier, said Air One officials.

The officials confirmed that Wednesday's news conference on "an important strategic agreement" between the two companies is for long-range airplanes, declining to give further details.

Air One already has a long-term agreement with Airbus for the shorter range A320 aircraft, and previously airline officials said it was deciding on a supplier for its long-range expansion.

In its 2007 results, issued at the weekend, Air One said it acquired 10 Airbus A320s during the year, reaching a total fleet of 57 aircraft, including Bombardier CRJ900 planes.

This month, Air One starts its first intercontinental flights to Boston and Chicago in the United States, operating Airbus A330-200s, it said, without saying if these are being bought or leased.

In full year 2007, Air One made a net profit of 6.8 million euros, in line with 2006, EBITDAR of 127.2 million, up 35 percent, and sales of 749.5 million, up 22.6 percent, it said.

EBITDAR is earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and aircraft rental and is a measure widely used in the airline industry.

On the privatisation of Alitalia SpA, in which the Italian state owns 49.9 percent, the Air One officials said that the company is waiting for the outcome of a due diligence ordered by the government.

In a separate statement, Air One said its passengers transported since start of the year are 3 million, up 15.6 percent on the same period of 2007.

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