SAA receives the first of nine A-340s

South African Airways' new A340-600.

South African Airways (SAA) has received the first of nine new Airbus A340-600s marking the commencement of a 41 aircraft, ten-year total fleet modernisation programme.

Putting the A340-600 into service immediately on receipt of the new plane, SAA becomes the first airline in the Southern Hemisphere and in Africa to operate the ultra-long range, high capacity aircraft.

SAA will operate the A340-600s on routes from Johannesburg to Frankfurt and Hong Kong.

The largest member of Airbus' A330/A340 family of aircraft, the A340-600 provides operators with unrivalled standards of space, comfort and amenity in each cabin class.

Egyptair was the launch customer for the A340-600 and has two planes on order, while Emirates Airline has ordered eight aircraft.

"The arrival of the first A340-600 marks a new step in our relationship with Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

"The introduction of the A340-600 will enable us to open up new long-haul trans-Oceanic routes, while offering our passengers the highest levels of comfort," said Andre Viljoen, CEO at South African Airways.