Edelweiss modernises its long haul fleet

Close up of an Airbus A350 in flight.
Photo Credit: Airbus

Edelweiss has announced their plans to acquire six Airbus A350-900 aircraft, entering service in 2025.
The current five Airbus A340-300 aircraft will be phased out and levels brought back to pre-covid states.

The A340’s in the existing fleet currently have an average age of around 20 years. Although only acquired by the airline between 2016 and 2023. The latest to join the fleet is HB-JMC, the oldest operated by Edelweiss and an ex-SWISS airframe.

Although quite old airframes all of the current Edelweiss A340-300’s are ex-SWISS. Other aircraft in the fleet are 13 x A320’s, again primarily ex-SWISS and around an average age of 18.4 years.

Modernising the fleet

Announcing the news of the fleet upgrade, Edelweiss CEO Bernd Bauer said: “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 aircraft, previously operated by LATAM Airlines, will initially have 339 seats and offer the proven Edelweiss comfort in all classes:

246 seats in Economy Class
63 seats in Economy Max with more legroom and greater reclining angle
30 seats in Business Class that can be converted into a flat bed.

All guests benefit from one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems with large, high-resolution screens and USB power at every seat. Guests in Business Class even enjoy movies and series on a 19-inch screen. 

Photo Credit: Piotr Bozyk AvSource
Photo Credit: Piotr Bozyk AvSource

Due to worldwide material shortages and reduced maintenance & engineering capacities, the first four aircraft will initially operate in the original operator’s configuration. Slight modifications to the cabin and Edelweiss design will be made.

Edelweiss will install a completely new cabin configuration with new seats and interior design at a later date. This will once again significantly enhance comfort and the travel experience for all guests. Edelweiss is investing a three-digit million sum for this.  

“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,” Bernd Bauer continued.

Latest generation engines and the use of lightweight materials make the twin-engine Airbus A350-900 one of the most fuel-efficient wide-body aircraft. It consumes 25 per cent less fuel and produces 25 per cent less CO2 than the four-engine Airbus A340-300, and noise emissions are up to 50 per cent lower.

Delivery times

According to current planning, the first Airbus A350-900 in the Edelweiss design will arrive in Zurich in summer 2025 and will be deployed on Edelweiss’ entire long-haul network.

This includes over 20 holiday destinations in North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.

According to Airbus, as of August 2023, there are currently 771 orders globally for the A350-900, with 474 being delivered and a further 297 on backlog.

The long-range widebody twin has proved a solid performer for the manufacturer especially on the back of the pandemic. Perhaps 2023 will see more airlines favouring the efficiency of the modern types if the order delays can be offset.

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