MIAMI — Saudi Arabian Airlines has become the world’s first operator of the Airbus A330-300 Regional variant, after taking delivery of the type in a ceremony held today in Toulouse.

Originally launched in 2013 at the Aviation Expo China (Beijing Airshow), the Airbus A330-300 Regional is a lower weight variant of the A330-300, which has been optimized for use on domestic and regional routes in high growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows.

However, it took two years to Airbus to find a customer for the jetliner, when Saudi Arabian Airlines placed an order for 20 aircraft at the 2015 Paris Airshow.

Airbus and Saudi Arabian Airlines representatives celebrate the delivery of the world’s first A330-300 Regional. (Credits: Airbus S.A.S.)

“We are excited to welcome the first A330-300 Regional to our fast expanding Airbus fleet. It is a step forward in recognizing our commitment to a family of aircraft which has contributed immensely to our market growth. The advantage of operating the new regional version of such a popular aircraft with proven operational flexibility and lowest cost per seat means unbeatable economics for our business and our customers.” Said Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser Director General Saudi Arabian Airlines.

The A330-300 Regional will now join the Airbus fleet of Saudi Arabian Airlines, comprised by 12 A330-300s and 50 A320 Family aircraft.