During a ceremony held in Hamburg, Germany, Shanghai Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus aircraft, an A321, thus becoming a new operator of the Airbus aircraft. The aircraft is the first of ten A321s ordered by the Shanghai-based carrier in 2006 and 2007.
Note that China Eastern Airlines is taking over Shanghai Airlines in an RMB8.9 billion ($1.3 billion) deal that will create a carrier with more than half the market share in the coastal city.
The new aircraft, which was ordered by Shanghai Airlines, is fitted in an all-new, two-class configuration with 178 seats (166 seats in Economy, 12 in Business Class). The aircraft will initially be deployed on domestic routes followed in the future by regional routes including Japan and Korea.
Shanghai Airlines was set up in 1985 and now operates 68 aircraft on more than 170 domestic, regional and international passenger and freighter routes linking over 60 destinations across China and around the world.
The A320 family (of which the A321 is a part) is quite large in aircraft terms with more than 6,300 aircraft sold, and over 3,900 aircraft delivered to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide. Any pilot who has had experience with the aircraft attests to the fact that it is possibly the easiest aircraft in the world to fly. It also has extended servicing periods and the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft.
Air Transport News reports that the A321 is the largest member of the Airbus A320 family and has a non-stop flying range of 3,000 nautical miles or 5,550 kilometres.