Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, has taken delivery of its first A330-300 Regional, making it the launch customer for this new member of the A330 family. The aircraft is the first of the 20 A330-300 Regional aircraft ordered at the 2015 Paris Airshow, and joins the carrier’s existing Airbus fleet of 12 A330-300s and 50 A320 Family aircraft.
Specially optimised for regional and domestic operations, the A330-300 Regional will boost capacity on several of Saudia’s most in-demand routes, enabling the airline to generate additional efficiencies. The A330-300 Regional also represents the lowest-cost alternative and easiest fleet addition due to its high commonality with the A330s already operated by the airline.
“We are excited to welcome the first A330-300 Regional to our fast expanding Airbus fleet,” says Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser director general, Saudia. “It is a step forward in recognising our commitment to a family of aircraft which has contributed immensely to our market growth.”
“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,” he added.
The A330-300 Regional is optimised for missions up to 2,700 nm (5-hour flight) covering short to medium haul routes and offers significant cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 tons. The reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs will result in an overall cost reduction of around 20% compared with today’s long-range A330-300.
Saudia is leasing the A330-300 Regional fleet from the International Air Finance Corporation (IAFC), a leading lessor in the Middle East that has been a pioneer in introducing innovative Islamic financing solutions to the aviation industry. The aircraft is configured in a 330-seat two-class arrangement.
The airline introduced the new type into scheduled passenger operation from September 1, 2016 initially serving the domestic market between Riyadh and Jeddah as well as a launch flight between Riyadh and Dubai. Its initial GDS inventory shows the aircraft will also be deployed in the Jeddah – Dammam market from September 4, 2016, between Jeddah and Dubai from September 5, 2016 and from October 1, 2016 on routes from Jeddah to Beirut, Cairo, Gizan, Khartoum and Kuwait City and between Riyadh and Gizan.