Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines has taken delivery of the first of 20 Airbus A330-300 Regional jets it has on order, making it the launch customer for this new member of the A330 family.
Saudi Arabian Airlines ordered the 20 A330-300 Regional aircraft at the 2015 Paris Airshow. They will join 12 A330-300s and 50 A320-family aircraft already in Saudi Arabian Airlines service.
Specially optimized for regional and domestic operations, the A330-300 Regional will boost capacity on several of Saudi Arabian Airlines’ most in-demand routes, enabling the airline to generate additional efficiencies, according to Airbus.
For Saudi Arabian Airlines, the A330-300 Regional represents the lowest-cost alternative and easiest fleet addition due to its high commonality with the A330s the carrier already operates, the manufacturer says.
The carrier’s first A330-300 Regional represents “a step forward in recognizing our commitment to a family of aircraft which has contributed immensely to our market growth,” says Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines.
“The advantage of operating the new regional version of such a popular aircraft with proven operational flexibility and lowest cost per seat means unbeatable economics for our business and our customers,” adds Al-Jasser.
Saudi Arabian Airlines will lease all 20 of its A330-300 Regional widebodies from the International Air Finance Corporation ,), a leading lessor in the Middle East.
The A330-300 Regional is optimized for missions up to 2,700 nautical miles (a five-hour flight) covering short-to-medium-haul routes.
It will offer significant cost savings over long-range A330-300s because it has a reduced operational weight of around 200 tons, according to Airbus, which calculates that the reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs will result in an overall cost reduction of around 20 per cent compared with today’s long-range A330-300.
Today’s longest-range A330-300s are certificated for a maximum gross take-off weight of 245 tons.