Airbus is very pleased with today's announcement by Iberia that it has selected the A340-600 over the 777-300ER. This decision follows a long and intensive evaluation process as part of Iberia's fleet renewal programme. It shows the level of confidence Iberia, as well as the majority of other leading airlines, have in Airbus and its products. (Airbus has booked over 50 percent of all industry firm orders in three of the last four years).

With this decision, Iberia becomes the 12th customer to select an aircraft from the new long-range A340-500/-600 Family, of which now a total of 81 have been committed to (72 firm orders plus nine committed to by Iberia), representing a 57 percent market share vs. its direct competitor, the 777-200LR/-300ER long-range family (of which 61 aircraft have been ordered by seven customers, according to the latest information available on the Boeing website).

Many independent surveys of business flyers have confirmed that the vast majority placed significant importance on their comfort during long-range flights and preferred four-engined aircraft for those journeys, with the majority of respondents preferring the A340 configuration over the 777 by a significant factor.

The A340-500/-600 are market leaders in their class, both in terms of aircraft sold and customers. Recent sales to SAA and Iberia confirm the market need for genuine long-range capability and reaffirm the importance of being able to operate efficiently with four-engined aircraft from hot and from high altitude airports.

The long-range credentials of the A340-600 have already been confirmed with the introduction of non-stop Los Angeles-Hong Kong services by Cathay Pacific. 2003 will also mark the inauguration of new ultra-long-range services by the A340-500 with Air Canada, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

With greater revenue-generating capability and operating costs lower than those of the 747 or 777, with passenger-pleasing seating in an all-new cabin interior and outstandingly low noise levels, the A340-500/-600 Family is setting standards in long-haul air travel.

A leading manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China, and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS Company with BAE SYSYEMS.