New Scandinavian A330s will be highest weight version

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Scandinavian Airlines is to take the new higher-weight version of the Airbus A330-300 as part of its fleet renewal from 2015.

This version of the twinjet, with a maximum take-off weight of 242t, was unveiled by the airframer last year. It makes use of the centre fuel tank, as well as other enhancements, to provide additional range for the aircraft.

Scandinavian Airlines is taking four A330-300s under a renewal which also includes up to 14 A350-900s.

Airbus A350 marketing director Mike Bausor confirms the carrier will be taking the 242t variant, describing it as the "newest and greatest of the A330s". It will have a range of 5,700nm (10,560km).

The airline will configure the A330s with 264 seats comprising 34 in business-class with its remaining cabin split between its newly-launched SAS Plus and SAS Go products, respectively with 35 and 195 seats.

SAS Group chief executive Rickard Gustafson says the A350s - eight firm and six options, once the order is finalised - which enter the fleet in 2018.

They will feature a 308-seat configuration including 36 in business, 32 in SAS Plus and 240 in SAS Go.

Gustafson says the airline is to introduce fully lie-flat seats as part of a long-haul cabin modernisation, as well as upgrade in-flight entertainment.

He says the long-haul renewal adds the "missing piece to the equation" following the airline's decision to acquire 30 Airbus A320neo jets for short-haul modernisation from 2016.

The carrier is restructuring its network to focus on the A320 at Copenhagen while its short-haul network at Oslo and Stockholm will centre on the Boeing 737.

Gustafson says the Boeing MD-80 fleet at the carrier will "cease to exist" by the autumn of this year.

"With all this together we'll have the full picture to provide a comprehensive offering to customers in short-haul, and also now in long-haul, service," he adds.

Gustafson says the airline has "run a lot of numbers" around the acquisition plan, stating that it "all hangs together" on SAS Group's extensive 4XNG restructuring programme intended to return the airline to profitability.

Earlier this year Gustafson spoke about the need to replace the carrier's A340 fleet as leases expired, but added that there was a long wait for Boeing 787 slots. "[The A350 is the] first aircraft that provides the size we're looking for," he says, adding that Airbus has provided "good terms and good delivery slots" for the new twinjets.