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Edelweiss Will Replace Its Airbus A340s With A350-900s

Swiss leisure carrier Edelweiss has announced it will be upgrading its fleet. The carrier has chosen the Airbus A350 to carry it into the future. The first of six aircraft will arrive sometime next summer, with the last arriving by the end of 2026.

Back to a full fleet.

Edelweiss chose the aircraft, especially for its fuel efficiency. The carrier’s long-haul fleet currently consists of five Airbus A340-300 quadjets. The Airbus A350-900 aircraft will join the Edelweiss gradually as they become available and offer several additional improvements over the existing fleet, including a more extended range and larger windows. Edelweiss CEO Bernd Bauer:

“The modernisation of the long-haul fleet is a milestone in Edelweiss’ almost 30-year history. Edelweiss will thus operate one of the youngest long-haul fleets in Europe from 2026.”

The new aircraft will bring Edelwiess’ long-haul feel back up to pre-pandemic levels once they are all delivered.

Where did they come from?

The new planes do not come as part of an Airbus order but rather from another airline. The Lufthansa Group carrier confirmed that the planes will come from LATAM Airlines, which retired them in 2021. The aircraft have been stored in Victorville, California, ever since. Edelweiss confirmed it is planning to retrofit the aircraft, but they will be delivered in their current configurations.

The aircraft will have 339 seats when first delivered. This is split between 246 seats in economy class, 63 seats in Economy Max with more legroom and greater reclining angle, and 30 seats in business class that can be converted into a fully flat bed. Each seat will also have large screens for the in-flight entertainment system and USB charging ports. Passengers flying in business class have an even larger screen that measures 19 inches.

The decision to wait on retrofitting the aircraft was attributed to “Worldwide material shortages and reduced maintenance & engineering capacities.” The carrier only mentioned the first four aircraft operating in their LATAM configuration, leaving room to speculate that the final two will be modified before delivery. Edelweiss is investing a “three-digit million sum” in the fleet renewal program. It promises an entirely new cabin configuration with new seats and interior design, which will be revealed at a later date. The aircraft will bring significant increases in efficiency, with Bernd Bauer continued highlighting how important this is to the carrier:

“The design of the Airbus A350-900 sets new standards in efficiency with state-of-the-art technologies and outstanding aerodynamics. It is one of the most environmentally friendly long-haul aircraft in the world.”

Compared to the four-engine Airbus A340-300, the new planes will consume 25% less fuel, produce 25% less CO2, and be up to 50% quieter.

Where will they go?

The Airbus A350-900 has an even greater range than the Airbus A340-300, allowing for the potential of new destinations from the carrier’s hub at Zurich-Kloten International Airport. According to the airline, the fleet will be deployed on Edelweiss’s long-haul network. This includes over 20 holiday destinations in North, Central, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean. The airline is set to introduce its first South American services in November, with links to the Colombian capital of Bogotá and Cartagena on the Northern coast.

Source : Simple Flying