Saudi Arabia to be first client for Airbus A330 Regional, report
Saudi Arabia is to be the first customer for European planemaker Airbus's A330 Regional medium-haul passenger jet, according to French business paper La Tribune. Saudi Arabian Airlines is expected to announce an order for about 15 A330s at the Le Bouget air show, which opens outside Paris on Monday.
Airbus, which builds its planes in south-west France, has not confirmed the report that Saudi Arabian Airlines is to place the order.
The Saudi airline hopes to almost double its fleet to 200 planes over the next five years,
The news comes as a surprise, according to La Tribune, because a Chinese company was expected to place the first order for the A330.
Discussions continue with Chinese airlines, which could buy about 100 planes according to Airbus chief executive Fabrice Brégier, and other countries, including Iran, may be interested.
The A330 Regional can only fly 5,000 kilometres, compared to the normal Airbus's 11,000 kilometres, but seats 400 people.
That means more passengers can be transported without increasing the number of flights, which should in theory reduce congestion at airports.