The first Airbus A340 four-engined, long range, wide-bodied passenger transports were placed into service by Lufthansa and Air France in March of 1993.
The A340 aircraft was seen as the answer to long-range flights
A340 aircraft was seen as the answer to long-range flights in the future as the older DC8 and Boeing 707 had all but disappeared from the skies. A sleek looking airliner, it set some records which stood for many years as discussed in our History page.
The Airbus adage of 4 Engines 4 Long Haul was aimed at the upcoming twin jets like the Boeing 777 which were still seeking ETOPS certification to be able to fly their twin jets on long over-water routes. There were 4 variants of the A340 with the main difference being fuselage length but there was also extended range specs added to the later A340 500 and A340 600.
The A340 300 was the most popular version sold making up 58 per cent of all A340s sold. The advent of the fuel price hikes in 2008 ensured that the A340 was doomed to fail. Fortunately for Airbus, the A340 and the A330 shared many common designs such as fuselage and wings. So where the A340 was deemed a failure for Airbus the A330 has been a huge success and continues to make good money for Airbus.
Airbus A340 Launch Customers
On 10 November 2011, Airbus having fulfilled all Airbus A340 orders announced that was ceasing production of this aircraft. Almost 19 years of production were at an end. The age of the super-sized twin jets has superseded the 4 engined jets other than the A380 Super Jumbo and the Boeing 747 8 Intercontinental. The A340 is succeeded in the Airbus fleet by the A330 and the A350 which look to take Airbus well into the future. It is interesting to note in the table below how second-hand A340s are still being picked up by smaller airlines, so as they disappear from mainstream airline stables they start turning up somewhere else.
Orders and Deliveries of the Airbus A340.
A340 Summary as of September 2019.
|Aircraft in Operation||250|
|Number of Operators||52|
|Number of Customers||48|
Airbus A340s Orders and Deliveries by type.
|Breakdown by aircraft||Airbus A340 200/300||Airbus A340 500/600|
Airbus A340 Orders and Deliveries, broken down by airline customer.
Lufthansa was by far the biggest operator of the A340.
|CUSTOMER||Nationality||A340 200 / A340 300||A340 500 / A340 600|
|Gov. Exec. and Private Jets||Various||7||7||11||7||7||10|
|AIR ATLANTA ICELANDIC||ICELAND||1|
|AIR CHINA SOUTHWEST COMPANY||CHINA||3||3|
|AIR TAHITI NUI||FRENCH POLYNESIA||4||4||3|
|AIR X CHARTER||UNITED KINGDOM||1|
|AJW CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD||UNITED KINGDOM||2||2|
|CATHAY PACIFIC||HONG KONG||11||11|
|CHINA AIRLINES||TAIWAN, REP. OF CHINA||6||6|
|CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES||CHINA||5||5||5||5|
|EMIRATES||UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||10||10|
|ETIHAD AIRWAYS||UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||11||11||2|
|EUROPEAN SKYBUS||UNITED KINGDOM||9|
|GLOBAL AIRWAYS||SOUTH AFRICA||2|
|HI FLY MALTA||MALTA||6|
|IRAN ASEMAN AIRLINE||Islamic Republic of Iran||1|
|KAM AIR||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||3|
|LATAM AIRLINES GROUP S.A||CHILE||4||4|
|MAHAN AIR||IRAN, ISLAMIC REP. OF||5||7|
|PLUS ULTRA LINEAS AEREAS||SPAIN||4||1|
|SANDS AVIATION, LLC||UNITED STATES||1|
|SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS||SOUTH AFRICA||6||6||8||6||6||9|
|SOUTH PACIFIC AIRLINES||HONG KONG||1|
|SRILANKAN AIRLINES||SRI LANKA||3||3|
|SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIR LINES||SWITZERLAND||9||9||5|
|SYRIANAIR||SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC||1|
|VIRGIN ATLANTIC||UNITED KINGDOM||7||7||14||14||6|
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