Swiss International Air Lines will fly its first Airbus A340-300, which was delivered last evening, from the manufacturer's delivery centre in Toulouse to its main base in Zurich, Switzerland, today.

The aircraft is the first of seven to be delivered to SWISS this year and meets the airline's ambition to offer an improved premium product on its long-haul network.

The A340-300's seating configuration has been tailored to meet SWISS' operational requirements with 228 passengers in three classes (eight in first-class, 48 in business-class and 172 in economy). This arrangement will enhance passengers' experience on board by providing a high level of comfort. The A340 is also known worldwide for having the quietest cabin in the sky - an essential feature on long-haul flights.

True to Airbus' unique family concept, the A340-300 also benefits from exceptional operational commonality with all other Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft, including SWISSí existing A320 Family aircraft and its A330-200s.

This homogeneous fleet will provide further cost efficiencies across all areas of operations, including maintenance, training and repairs. Pilots can transfer from one type of aircraft to another with minimal training. The Airbus operational commonality also facilitates 'mixed fleet flying,' which enables SWISS to operate the most efficient aircraft on medium and long-haul flights with the same crews, leading to considerable cost savings.

Equally, the A340-300 demonstrates outstanding environmental efficiencies, including low fuel burn and reduced engine emissions. The CFM56-5C4 engines from CFM International will also contribute to a significant reduction in maintenance costs. The aircraft comfortably meets international noise standards and has a low noise signature, which is especially suited to the environmentally-conscious communities around Zurich airport.

Commenting on the new delivery, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer NoŽl Forgeard, said: "We are proud to be supporting SWISS with the delivery the A340-300. We are confident that the aircraft will positively contribute to the current economic and operational challenges of the airline. Whilst delivering maximum comfort and convenience for passengers in all classes, the A340 will deliver outstanding operational efficiencies."

The A330/A340 Family is the market leader in the 250 - 380 seat category. To date, close to 800 firm orders for the A330/A340 Family aircraft have been taken.

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 US, China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.