A private non-governmental business group of Saudi Arabia, which already has a VIP A320, has acquired an Airbus A340-600, becoming the first VIP customer for the ultra-long range aircraft, which is also the world’s longest airliner.

Both Airbus aircraft will be operated by Jeddah-based National Air Services (NAS), which already operates a fleet of VIP A320 Family aircraft.

Delivery of the “green” aircraft, ahead of cabin outfitting, is planned for end-2006. The choice of outfitter has yet to be announced.

Airbus’ A340-600 is an attractively modern design, has the range and flexibility to make the longest flights, and features a cabin of truly intercontinental proportions. It is able to fly even very large groups in unsurpassed comfort.

Airbus’ A340-600 is in widespread airline service, flying intercontinental routes around the world with carriers in Europe, Asia and North America. VIP versions of its predecessors – the A340-200 and –300 are already in service.

”While our biggest market is for aircraft such as the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), there is a need for larger VIP aircraft, as the Saudi Arabian commitment demonstrates,” says Airbus Vice President Private and Executive Aviation Richard Gaona. “And whether a customer wants an Airbus ACJ or a larger one, we have the dedication and expertise to supply it.”

The A340-600 is part of the Airbus A330/A340 family, which is the market leader in the 250-375 seat category, with the most orders and the most customers in its class. It is the largest Airbus aircraft in passenger service today, typically seating 380 passengers in a first, business and economy layout.

Like all Airbus aircraft, the A340-600 shares a common cockpit, giving airlines a way to save training costs and the means to deploy it more flexibly in airline service.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.