Today, Air China Southwest Branch took delivery of Air China's first A330-200, becoming a new operator of the aircraft type on the Chinese Mainland. Configured in a two-class layout, the aircraft provides comfortable space for 283 passengers, including 12 business class seats and 271 economy class seats.

The official delivery ceremony was held at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in Sichuan Province, where Air China Southwest Branch is located. The first A330-200 in Air China's livery flew over from Toulouse, France on June 7 and arrived at Chengdu today. It will be put into service on Air China's high-altitude routes connecting Chengdu, Lhasa, Lingzhi and Jiuzhaigou.

"We are delighted to welcome the first A330-200 to our fleet. It will further consolidate our leading position in the high-altitude route operation in China's domestic market," said Mr. Tan Zhihong, President of Air China Southwest Branch. "The A330-200 will also effectively increase our operating flexibility whilst providing unmatched comfort for our passengers."

Air China Southwest Branch was founded in October 2002. It currently operates an Airbus fleet of six A340-300s and 11 A319s, connecting over 80 domestic and international destination cities.

Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert said, "We are proud to see that Air China has once again selected our A330 family of aircraft to further expand its fleet. We are grateful for the confidence that Air China has shown in Airbus and our products over the years since we delivered the first A340-300 to Air China in 1997 and we look forward to forging an even closer cooperation with Air China in the future."

Derived from the longer fuselage A330-300 with a range of up to 12,500 km/6,750 nm, the A330-200 entered into service in 1998. Comfortably carrying passengers in a typical three-class arrangement, it features higher payloads and improved engines.

To date over 700 A330/A340 Family aircraft are in operation with almost 80 operators worldwide and over 300 aircraft in backlog. By the end of April 2006, the three major airline groups on the Chinese Mainland operate 26 A330/A340 family aircraft with a further 45 still on order.

A leading aircraft 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, Japan and in the Middle East. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.