Swiss eyes potential A340 successors

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Swiss International Air Lines is evaluating how to replace its Airbus A340s beyond 2015, although the decision will depend on the fleet strategy of parent Lufthansa.

The Zurich-based carrier is examining the A350, Boeing 777 and 787 as potential successors to the four-engined long-haul aircraft.

Chief commercial officer Holger Hätty told Flightglobal Pro that the new type will need to be larger than the A340-300 and accommodate around 300 passengers instead of the -300's 219 passengers. The 787 might therefore be "too small", he added.

The 787-8 has capacity for 210 to 250 passengers and the larger -9 variant will hold 250 to 290.

Swiss operates 15 A340-300s, which are configured in a three-class layout with eight first, 47 business and 164 economy class seats.

The choice will also depend on the availability of production slots for the new type. Between 2015 and 2017 would be "quite realistic" for the new aircraft to join the fleet, Hätty said.

Another factor will be Lufthansa's fleet strategy. Hätty confirmed that Swiss' aircraft selection will depend on the parent carrier's future aircraft plans.

Lufthansa has been evaluating the 787 and A350 but is yet to place an order.