Airbus has delivered the first VIP version of its ultra long-haul A340-600, the world's longest airliner, to the private business group SAAD Air Ltd of Saudi Arabia, the first customer for the type.
The Airbus A340-600, which has yet to be outfitted with its VIP cabin, will seat around 80 passengers and is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines.
SAAD Air is both global and growing, and is an established corporate jet user - it already has an Airbus A320 Prestige - so the move to a larger Airbus widebody was a natural step. SAAD Air will benefit from a more spacious cabin, ultra-long range and four-engined flexibility, giving it the freedom to transport VIPs in style, where they want, when they want. SAAD Air is also in negotiations to double its fleet in the near future, with a wide range of aircraft types for its private aviation business with VIP clientele.
Airbus offers the most modern range of corporate jetliners, from the entry level A318 Elite, through the Airbus corporate jetliner (ACJ), A320 Prestige and A330/A340 Prestige, all the way up to the A380 Flying Palace. Four engines give the A340 and A380 the freedom to overfly remote areas - with no extended range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) limitations.
Airbus' corporate jetliner family is enjoying widespread success in the market, with over 20 sales this year, setting a new record. Total sales of the A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige stand at around 80 aircraft, and there are a further 40 or so Airbus widebodies in corporate jet roles.
"If you want the ultimate in corporate jets, whether it is a more spacious cabin, a more modern design, or just the largest aircraft in its class, Airbus has the solution," says Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. "Airbus aircraft have a reputation for giving airline passengers more comfort, and this is even more true in the executive cabins of the corporate jet world."
Like their airliner counterparts, Airbus corporate jets feature many innovations that deliver more value to customers. These include fuel-saving advanced aerodynamics, extensive use of weight-saving carbonfibre composites, a modern common cockpit and fly-by-wire controls, reliable systems and robust, long-lasting structure.
Designed for reliability in the field, Airbus aircraft also benefit the most comprehensive trouble-shooting aids in their class, backed by a worldwide network of technical support, training and spares centres.
Airbus aircraft have won almost 7,000 orders worldwide to date, of which over 4,500 have been delivered, and they have some 350 customers and operators to their credit.
Airbus is an EADS company.