by Fouad Attar
Firstly, I am proud to end 2016 by congratulating our very first customer in the region, IranAir, as we signed this historic Purchase Agreement for 100 Airbus aircraft. As part of the airline's fleet renewal, the firm order covers A320 family as well as the A330 and A350 XWB. Welcome aboard, Homa!
2016 has been a tremendous year for Airbus, particularly as new members of Airbus aircraft families achieve their milestones one after another.
We started the year with the first deliveries of the A320neo, and today, there are over 70 of these aircraft in service. As recently as this week P&W powered A321neo achieved certification by both EASA and FAA, an important step for the A321neo on it's road to EIS.
It has been an equally busy year for the wide-body aircraft, we now have over 50 A350-900s flying around the world with ten customers, It's time for the larger type -1000 to get ready for entry-into-service. Indeed, it was exciting to see the aircraft complete it's first flight in November. Stay with us for more good news about the A350-1000.
Starting next year the A330 will be produced at a higher rate every month than before. Like the rest of the world, the A330 has been a popular aircraft in this region. Take Saudi Arabian A330 Regional and PIA's introduction of the A330 into their fleet as examples. That's mainly because every year, at Airbus we give more reasons to airlines around the world to operate the A330 aircraft, and the exciting next chapter is not far away with the A330neo now in the Final Assembly Line. The A330neo will not only bring 14% fuel burn savings for its operators but also incorporates 'Airspace by Airbus' similar to the new generation A350 XWB cabin.
The A380 has received incredibly positive feedback by passengers who have had the opportunity to experience traveling on this aircraft. As surveys suggest, 60% of the passengers are willing to make an extra effort to fly on the A380. That is why this year my colleagues launched the iflya380.com initiative designed to provide booking assistance - and much more, exclusively for the A380. I invite you to try it out and book your A380 flight!
Today, there are at least 100 A380's in service with our Middle Eastern customers.
Lastly, I would like thank all the airlines in the region who participated in this year's Fleet & Network Seminar held in Budapest, Hungary. The event which is an excellent opportunity to exchange views and experiences about different approaches, methods and tools with those who work in fleet planning, financial analysis, and network planning.
Wishing everyone happy new year and a great 2017!