The future long-haul airliners chosen by SAS are Airbus A340-300 and A330-300. Both models are part of the A330/A340 family. The two aircraft were developed jointly, and the first versions were delivered in 1993.
These models are extremely spacious, wide-body aircraft. The fuselage is 5.64 meters in diamters and the aircraft are equipped with ultra-modern electronics.
The A340-300 model chosen by SAS will have 275 seats, with 56 in business class and 219 in economy class. Business class seats are configured as 2-2-2, with a 2-4-2 configuration in the economy class compartment.
The A340-300 can travel non-stop over distances up to 8,500 nautical miles. The A340-300 has four engines, and the sound comfort level in the cabin is extremely favorable. The A340 has become very popular with passengers in all parts of the world. Passenger opinion surveys show the highest ratings for cabin comfort. The distance, or "pitch," between seat is 50 inches, or 1.25 meters in business class and 32/31 inches, or 80 cm, in economy class.
The overhead baggage compartment offers ample space. Compared with SAS planes now used for long-haul flights, the new Airbus models offers 36 percent more luggage space in business class and 20 percent more in economy class.
The A330-300 can fly non-stop over medium and long-haul routes. SAS has chosen to equip the planes with 278 seats, with 56 in business class and 222 in economy class. The seating configuration is the same, with 2-2-2 in business class and 2-4-2 in economy class. The cabin noise level is extremely low. The aircraft has two engines.
Both aircraft can be equipped with the latest on-board entertainment systems. They also offer a good work environment for airline employees.
Compared with the B767 now used by SAS for long-distance flights, the cargo hold in the new Airbus models will increase freight capacity by 40 percent.
Several airlines have Airbus A340s and A330s in their long-haul fleets of aircraft. Lufthansa, an SAS partner, has 20 A340s in traffic and has ordered a total of 41. Air Canada, also an SAS partner, has ordered 13, with 12 planes already in traffic. Singapore Airlines also has these models in its fleet.
Important dates in the development of A330/A340:
June 1987 A decision is made within Airbus to develop A330 and A340 as a joint project.
October 1991 Maiden flight of A340.
November 1999 Maiden flight of A330.
January 1993 First delivery of the A340
December 1993 First delivery of the A330
August 1999 551 confirmed orders from 56 customers for A330/A340 (267 orders for A330 and 284 orders for A340).
As of today - 278 aircraft's now in traffic all over the world