The Airbus A340 was originally the flagship in the European manufacturer’s product line until the advent of the Airbus A380. With its four engines and long-range capability, it saw service with many airlines around the world.
Developed in tandem with the Airbus A330, it first flew on 25 October 1991. Lufthansa and Air France put the aircraft into service from 15 March 1993. With a range of 12,400 to 16,670 kilometres, it formed an important part of many airlines fleets.
Airbus A340 Video
Following on from the last video about the de Havilland Dash 7, this week we return to Europe for a look at the Airbus A340. Running for just over five minutes, the presentation from Skyships Eng gives a good overview of the plane.
The A340 competed with the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and the Boeing 777 in the marketplace and fell between the two. It outsold the MD-11 by almost two to one but sold far less than the 777.
As the plane was designed in tandem with the Airbus A330, they have a lot of commonality. For example, they share the same cockpit design, allowing pilots to fly either aircraft without the need for extensive retraining. Another fun fact is the how the A340-600 was once the longest passenger plane in the world, until surpassed by the Boeing 747-8 and forthcoming 777-9.
Virgin Atlantic painted “4 engines 4 long haul” on their Airbus A340s, presumably to quell the fears of nervous flyers who may have thought that twins were less safe. In fact, the A340 has a remarkably good safety record, with no passengers having been lost due to accidents.
There were 380 Airbus A340s produced from 1991 to 2011 and there are not many left in service. Germany’s Lufthansa and Mahan Air of Iran are the only airlines with more than ten in their fleet. Other airlines have five or less, making the jet hard to find nowadays.
I have had the pleasure of flying on the Airbus A340-200 with Royal Jordanian and the A340-300 with LAN. Since it is essentially a four engine version of an A330, the experience is pretty indistinguishable when flying.
Have you been on an Airbus A340 before? What was it like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Enjoying the series? Check out the index to all the “Does Anyone Remember…” articles.
Featured image by Chris Lofting on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.