Airbus A340

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Airbus A340
An Airbus A340-300
An Airbus A340-300 in Airbus factory livery
Type: Four-engined wide-body aircraft
Design country:


First flight:

October 25, 1991


March 15, 1993

Production time:

1991 to 2011

Number of pieces:


Side view to compare the lengths of the four A340 versions

The Airbus A340 is a four- engine wide - body aircraft produced by the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus . The first flight of this long-haul aircraft took place on October 25, 1991 in the version A340-300. The low-wing aircraft was the first airliner from Airbus with four engines and the first civilian wide-body aircraft worldwide with digital fly-by-wire control. The Airbus A340 was developed parallel to the Airbus A330 , with which it shares many features and assemblies. The final assembly of the A340 took place in Toulouse on a shared assembly line together with the A330. By May 2013, all 377 aircraft of this type ordered had been delivered, of which 275 were still in service at the end of March 2018.

On November 10, 2011, Airbus announced that it would cease production of the four-engine A340. The successor model is the twin-engine Airbus A350 . By December 2015, Airbus had 22 used A340s that could be bought by Iran after the Iran sanctions were lifted .



The first studies for the A340 became known as early as 1981 and were published in the British aviation magazine Air International under the name TA11 - Twin Aisle , ie "(aircraft with) two aisles" as a synonym for wide-body aircraft . The concepts of the later A320 under the name SA9 and the later A330 under the name TA9 were also presented at that time, with the basic performance data also being mentioned. Despite the emphatic demand of Lufthansa to force the development of the TA11, Airbus preferred the A320 program and thus postponed the development of the TA9 / TA11.


Economy - cabin of a A340-600 the Lufthansa
Staircase in the version of the A340-600 with sanitary facilities in the lower deck

The new aircraft program was launched unofficially on January 24, 1986 in Munich and officially on June 5, 1987 with the aim of replacing the Airbus program, which until now has only consisted of aircraft types for short-haul ( A320 ), medium- haul ( A300 ) and long-haul flights for small passenger numbers ( A310 ) was rounded off with an (ultra) long-haul aircraft of medium passenger capacity. At that time there were actually only the American, obsolete aircraft types McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 , some more cost-intensive Eastern commercial aircraft, as well as the long-haul Boeing 767 , whose disadvantage is that it was equipped with only two engines for this segment of scheduled transport was. For the Boeing 767, a flight route closer to airfields always had to be chosen in order to be able to make an emergency landing in the event of an engine failure. Since this requirement leads to significantly longer flight routes on the Atlantic route, among other things , the A340 was planned with four engines. As with the four- engine Boeing 747 , this circumvented these ETOPS restrictions. In addition to saving fuel, this gave the airlines an argument to calm down any worried passengers. These arguments were still used in the late 1990s when the Boeing 777, which was coming onto the market with two engines, competed with the A340. Virgin Atlantic Airways, for example, advertised its fleet, which at that time consisted exclusively of four-engine aircraft, with the motto “4 Engines 4 Long Haul” (roughly: “Four engines for long haul” ).

Problems with the SuperFan

The development of the Airbus A340 went relatively smoothly except for difficulties with the engines: Originally, both CFM International and International Aero Engines wanted to offer and deliver engines for the new A340. However, only the CFM International CFM56 was strong enough in the late 1980s to meet the basic requirements of Airbus; the V2500 engine offered by IAE turned out to be too inefficient , even at the highest stage of development at the time. However, IAE offered a revolutionary further development: They wanted to develop a geared turbofan called SuperFan from the core engine of the V2500 . The concept included a large blower that should be driven by a reduction gear. To achieve high performance, it should have adjustable blades. In order to remain competitive, CFM simultaneously developed a new version of their CFM56, which slightly exceeded the required performance parameters and it was possible to remain an alternative. However, Airbus and its customers preferred IAE's SuperFan, as this engine promised a much higher economic efficiency . From the start, however, experts doubted the IAE's promises to develop such a complex engine, for which many new technologies were required, in such a short time. It finally came to a debacle: On April 7, 1987, the company announced that it would completely stop developing the SuperFan. This has been a hard blow to the A340 program in the short and long term. The CFM56, now the only available engine, was nowhere near the performance of the SuperFan. Airbus therefore had to make some changes to the aircraft. The wingspan was increased by two meters and the originally planned wingtip fences, which are also installed on the A310 and A380, were replaced by 2.74 meters high, lift-generating winglets . The Airbus A330 also got these winglets because it uses the same wings as the A340. In addition, some planned system installations were canceled for weight reasons, which meant that the A340's original performance guarantees could be achieved again. However, the CFM56 versions of the A340 have reached the limit of performance enhancement of the CFM56 engine family. Therefore the later versions A340-500 / -600 were equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 500 .

Sales problems with rising oil prices

When the oil price began to rise more and more in the 1990s, and especially from 2001 , and at the same time the ETOPS regulations for the twin-engine Boeing 777s operating in the same market segment became more and more generous, the greatest advantage of the four-engine engine was that it was not bound by any restrictions , more and more in the background and the disadvantages of the concept became more and more obvious: Four engines require more control systems, cause more weight, higher maintenance costs, and consume more kerosene . This showed the advantage of the twin-engine A330, which continued to sell very well and thus confirmed Hartmut Mehdorn's prediction (at that time member of the board of Deutsche Aerospace AG) in which he - contrary to the opinion of most experts - predicted that originally designed for charter airlines The A330 will sell three times as well as the A340 in the long term. Nevertheless, more direct routes can still be flown, especially in the Pacific region, without ETOPS. Regardless of this, Boeing won more and more orders for the Boeing 777 , while Airbus was able to sell the A340 less often: in 2005, for example, the company only sold 15 aircraft, while Boeing received 154 orders for the Boeing 777 in the same period. Airbus finally responded to this and to the new Boeing 787 by developing the twin- engine long-haul A350 XWB .

Setting the program

An EADS press release on November 10, 2011 stated a one-time positive EBIT impact of € 192 million for the first nine months of 2011 resulting from the termination of the A340 program. Airbus also announced that customer service for the A340 will continue.

Delivery balance

The last machine of the original versions (340-200 / -300), an A340-300 in VIP equipment, left the production line in September 2008. The aircraft that was part of the last A340 order was an A340-600X and was delivered to Iberia on July 16, 2010 . The last two A340s of the sub-type A340-500, which were ordered by Kingfisher Airlines but not accepted, Airbus sold on November 15, 2012 to the leasing company AJW Capital . AJW Capital has sold the two A340-500s to Azerbaijan Airlines .

Airbus received a total of 377 orders (375 deliveries). Of these, 246 were A340-200 / 300, all of which had been delivered, and 131 A340 versions -500 and -600, of which 129 had been handed over to customers by November 30, 2011.


The so-called commonality can be found in many areas of this aircraft. This means that systems of different aircraft types are identical in order to save costs. For example, the A340 is closely related to the Airbus A330 . Compared to the twin-engine A330, the wings in the area of ​​the outer engines are reinforced. Many other assemblies are identical to those of the A330. The avionics are essentially the same as those of the A330 and A320 Family. The CFM-International-CFM56 engines of the first two versions A340-200 and -300 are also used in the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 family. In addition, the cockpit is the same as that of the A320 Family and A330 and is very similar to that of the A350 and A380. This reduces the retraining effort for pilots and the training time for maintenance technicians, which reduces costs. There are also synergy effects when storing spare parts.

Manufacturing and logistics

Airbus Beluga to transport the components

As with all Airbus aircraft, the individual components were manufactured locally, only the final assembly took place in Toulouse, France. The nose section, the engine nacelle suspensions and a section of the middle fuselage were also built in France, the horizontal stabilizer was made in Spain. The Airbus sites in Germany built - with the exception of the above sections - the hull, the rudder and the cabin interior. The Airbus Broughton plant in Great Britain was responsible for the wings . The fuselage section was transported by the Airbus Beluga (A300-600ST).


Technical innovations

Airbus views the A330 / A340 program as a single, combined series and has developed it that way from the start. That is why the two types differ from each other only to a very small percentage. Mainly the wings and the fuel system should be mentioned here, due to the different number of engines. In addition, only the A340 has a middle main landing gear. In the A340-500 and -600 series, further differences from the A330 have been added. The digital fly-by-wire flight control system with sidesticks instead of control horns was used for the first time on a wide-body aircraft ; Airbus has taken this over from the Airbus A320 family and developed it further. The glass cockpit with CRT or later LCD screens , which has meanwhile become the standard at Airbus , was also taken over from this, and other sectors of the fuselage were consistently made from composite materials.


CFM International CFM56 on an A340
Rolls-Royce Trent 500 on an A340-600

Two engine types are used on the A340, each of which is used exclusively in the versions of the A340.

For the versions A340-200 and -300 the turbofan engines CFM56 -5C are used in three versions with up to 151.3 kN thrust. The CFM56 is widely used in narrow-body aircraft in commercial aviation. The manufacturer consortium CFM International , which developed and sells the CFM56, is a cooperation between the US manufacturer General Electric and the French company Snecma .

For the A340-500 and -600 versions, the British manufacturer Rolls-Royce developed the Trent 500 turbofan engine from previous models by the year 2000 and is now manufactured in three versions. Depending on the version, the engines develop up to 267 kN of thrust.


Fuselage section of an A340

The construction and diameter of the fuselage have been taken over from the A300 / A310 program, have been extended accordingly (depending on the version) and modified by the position of the doors. It is constructed in aluminum half-shell construction and divided into sections to facilitate transport. It is completely pressurized, except in the area of ​​the landing gear and the tail cone. Depending on the version, the A340 has eight (A340-200 / 300 and -500) or ten (A340-600) doors, some of which are designed as emergency exits. In the lower fuselage area there is a cargo hold in front of and behind the main landing gear, which can be loaded from the right side through a large cargo door. The cargo holds are fully equipped with a roller conveyor system that enables loading with standard containers. In addition, Airbus has several options for using the cargo hold with a mobile sleeping container for the crew or additional fuel tanks. In the -500 version, a second built-in center tank is installed here.

Tail unit

The tail unit of the A340 is designed as a cantilever, conventional tail unit with fins and rudders. It has no possibility of de-icing. The vertical stabilizer was taken over from the A310 and is made of carbon fiber composite material. The tailplane has been redeveloped. The horizontal stabilizer is fully movable for trimming and consists of an aluminum spar, the rest is also made of carbon fiber composite material. Each version of the A340 has a trim tank built into the horizontal stabilizer (also adopted from the A310). During the flight, controlled by a computer, fuel is pumped back and forth between the trim tank and the other tanks to optimize the center of gravity. The resulting smaller deflections of the horizontal stabilizer lead to fuel savings. The trim tank can also be used as an additional fuel tank. In the -200 / -300 version it has a capacity of 6200 liters, in the -500 / -600 version it has a capacity of 8200 liters.


Wing with winglet and device for rapid fuel discharge on an A340-600

The A340 is designed as a low-wing aircraft. The wings are a new development, but the experience from the A310 has been incorporated into them. An area for long-distance use was consequently developed here, resulting in a relatively large span, also to accommodate the required fuel. The profile is a further development of the supercritical profile of the A310. The wings differ only slightly from those of the A330, only the lines to the engines and their mountings are different. The wings consist of three box spars and are made of aluminum. The sweep is 30 °. They are firmly connected to the wing box integrated in the fuselage. There are two fuel tanks in each wing. The A340 also has a center tank in the fuselage, thus a capacity of 135,000 liters of fuel. The panels, the outer flaps , the spoilers and ailerons are made of composite fiber plastic. As a lift aid, the A340 has slats on the wing leading edges , which are interrupted at the engine mounts. They can be de-iced by hot engine bleed air. The flaps are located at the trailing edge, they are designed as a simple Fowler system and run continuously from the fuselage to the outer engine. Two independent ailerons are connected here, each controlled by two hydraulic systems. The ailerons are supported by spoilers attached to the top of the wing. These also serve as air brakes . Winglets are attached to the tip of the wing , which both reduce drag and generate lift themselves.

Due to the large difference between the maximum take-off and landing weight, all models in the A340 series are equipped with a system for emergency fuel drainage. This is used in an emergency to lose weight quickly in order to achieve the maximum landing weight, and then to land at a nearby airport.

landing gear

The landing gear of the A340 is designed as a conventional retractable landing gear and is hydraulically operated. It consists of a single-axle nose landing gear with two wheels, two main landing gears, each equipped with four wheels, and an additional middle landing gear between the main landing gears, which is two-wheeled in the -200 / -300 versions and four-wheeled in the -500 / -600 versions is. As with the sister model A330, the length of the main landing gear legs is reduced by 6 inches (152.4 mm) when the landing gear is retracted by pulling the shock absorbers into the landing gear legs. The nose wheel steering also works with hydraulics. The hydraulically operated brakes on the eight main landing gear wheels are fitted with carbon brake discs . The nose and middle landing gear are unbraked on the A340-200 / 300. On the other hand, the middle landing gear of the A340-500 / 600 is also equipped with brakes. The brakes have an anti-lock braking system and are temperature monitored.

A340 cockpit

Flight control

The A340 has a digital, computer-monitored flight control system that is operated using the sidestick and the rudder pedals in the cockpit. This was taken over from the A320. There is no longer any mechanical connection to the control surfaces. Only the rudder and the horizontal stabilizer can still be operated manually via cables in the -200 / -300 versions. All control surfaces are hydraulically operated by three independent hydraulic systems. Thanks to the completely digital control, which is carried out by several computers, Airbus has built in a number of electronic safety routines that are intended to protect the aircraft from uncontrolled flight conditions. Such a system was used here for the first time in a wide-body aircraft. Boeing only followed suit with the 777 years later. This system has also enabled Airbus to achieve a cockpit layout and flight behavior that is so similar to the A320 Family that A320 pilots are able to fly the A340 after a short training session.


Classic variants

The so-called classic variants are almost completely identical in components to the A330. They are characterized by the smaller CFM56 engines and the two-wheel center landing gear and form the basis of the A340 family, from which larger and further developed variants later emerged.


Qatar Airways Airbus A340-200
Plan views of the A340-200

The A340-200 is a 4.68 m shortened version of the basic version -300 and is intended for longer long-haul routes. With a maximum take-off weight of 257 t in a three-class configuration of the cabin, it can transport 261 passengers over a distance of up to 13,000 km or 239 passengers over 14,000 km. Four CFMI CFM56-5C2 engines are used. Development of the A340-200 began in 1987, the first flight took place on April 1, 1992. It was put into service by Lufthansa in 1993 . From 1994 a version with an increased take-off weight of 260 t was offered. Mainly due to the high operating costs and the small field of application, the A340-200 was not a commercial success. In 2002 this version was withdrawn from the program after only 28 examples were built by Airbus.

The A340-200 variant still holds the route record for four-engine passenger aircraft, set up on a test flight from Paris to Auckland with more than 19,000 km in 1994.


A variant based on the dimensions of the A340-200 with an even higher take-off weight of 275 tons and two additional fuel tanks in the cargo hold was developed by Airbus from 1997, initially under the name A340-8000, but later as the A340-200E (E for Enhanced). Thanks to the larger fuel capacity, the range with 232 passengers was increased to 14,800 km. As engines were like the A340 313 E, 151 kN-strong CFMI CFM56-5C4 used. However, because of the cost-intensive operation of this variant and the very small range of applications that can be operated economically for ultra-long-haul routes, the airlines did not accept this variant.

The Sultan of Brunei ordered the only built copy, which was never delivered after its maiden flight in December 1997. The machine with the serial number 204 was also the last A340-200 built. It was handed over to Lufthansa Technik for interior decoration and had been parked at Berlin-Schönefeld Airport since 1998 and in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel from 2002. In 2007 the machine was sold to the Royal Flight division of Saudi Arabian Airlines known as the Saudi Arabian VIP .

The aircraft with the construction number 204 is (as of 2020) still in use for the Saudi Arabian government with the aircraft registration HZ-HMS2.


Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300

The A340-300 represents the basic version of the family and can carry 295 passengers in a three-class configuration over a distance of 12,400 km. The -300 was the first A340 to make its maiden flight on October 25, 1991 and was accepted into service by Lufthansa and Air France in March 1993 . In fact, IAE engines specially developed for the 300 version should be used. That company stopped developing the engine, however, and Airbus used four CFMI CFM56-5C turbofans instead . Compared to the original design, this led to higher consumption, while at the same time the range and cruising speed were reduced.

Laminar airfoil of the 340-300 BLADE

In 2017 the prototype of the A340-300 was reactivated and used for test flights . The aircraft with the manufacturer serial number 001 and the aircraft registration F-WWAI received a modification, which can be recognized especially by the changed wing tips. The aim of the conversion was to research and reduce fuel consumption as part of the Clean Sky program with the help of a laminar wing .

The aircraft was parked at Tarbes Lourdes Airport in southern France on August 6, 2019 .


The A340-300E , often also referred to as the A340-300X , is a version of the A340-300 designed for a higher take-off weight and equipped with more powerful engines. The first copy was delivered to Singapore Airlines in April 1996 , which is no longer operating this version. The maximum take-off weight for the -300E has been increased to 271 to 275 tons, with the aircraft being able to carry 295 passengers up to 13,525 km. Stronger CFM International CFM56-5C4s with 151 kN each are used as engines.

A340-300 Enhanced
Official government machine of the Federal Republic of Germany: Airbus A340-313X VIP 16 + 01 " Konrad Adenauer "

In 2003 there was another update, under the name A340-300 Enhanced , Airbus introduced a new variant with improved CFM56-5C / P engines as well as the improved avionics and fly-by-wire systems originally developed for the A340-500 and -600 a. This variant was first delivered to Swiss in 2003 , and South African Airways was also a customer.

The flight readiness of the Federal Ministry of Defense took over two A340s from the Lufthansa fleet in December 2010 , which were converted and equipped as government aircraft of the Federal Republic of Germany and put into service in spring 2011 under the names "Konrad Adenauer" and "Theodor Heuss". They replaced two Airbus A310s that were more than 20 years old and which were taken over by the GDR's state airline , Interflug , after the fall of the Berlin Wall . The two machines have been equipped with a defense mechanism for missiles of the type AN / AAQ-24 (V) LAIRCM in recent years .


The A340-400 was a concept that provided for a further fuselage stretching to 70.00 m and instead of the front cargo hold also a passenger area with windows below the normal cabin. It was planned as a replacement for the B747SR used in Asia, but not implemented. The greatest possible commonality with the A340-200 / -300 was intended to save development costs: the wings would have remained virtually unchanged, and the relatively weak CFM-56 engines, which are actually not ideally suited to the aircraft type, would have been used as propulsion systems. This would have drastically reduced the range to 10,927 km. Since Boeing presented a similar but more efficient aircraft at the same time as the 777-300, Airbus dropped the plans for the A340-400 and pursued a new approach with the A340-500 / -600, which included more radical changes to the aircraft.

"Next Generation"

The "next generation" models are externally characterized by the larger Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines and the two-axle middle chassis. They have modified wings and a further developed flight control system, which Airbus has since installed in the newly built examples of the old A340-300 series (designation: A340-300 Enhanced ). The wings have been enlarged by 20 percent and have newly developed center pieces and winglets. The sweep was increased to 31.1 °, which means that these machines now have a wingspan of 63.70 meters. In addition, the elevator was redeveloped and an enlarged rudder was taken over from the Airbus A330-200 ; both are now controlled electronically. The chassis has also been redesigned; In addition, the middle chassis is equipped with brakes in these versions. To increase range and cruising speed, Airbus also increased fuel capacity by 50 percent.


TAM Airbus A340-500
Etihad Airbus A340-500
An Airbus A340-500HGW operated by Thai Airways in 2008

The A340-500 is the ultra-long-haul version of the new variants and has the same wings as the A340-600. It can transport 313 passengers in three classes over a distance of 15,740 kilometers. The fuselage was taken over from the A340-300, but stretched by 4.20 meters. An additional fuel tank is installed in the fuselage to increase the range. The maximum take-off weight is 368 tons. Because of its fuselage length, the A340-500 has a rear camera that supports the pilots when maneuvering at airports. The concept was first presented at the 1997 Paris Airshow . The first flight took place on February 11, 2002 and the first copy was delivered to Emirates on December 3, 2002 .

From June 28, 2004, Singapore Airlines flew the Singapore - New York (Newark) route (16,668 km) non-stop in 18 hours and 18 minutes with the A340-500 . This route was the longest commercial scheduled flight in the world and could only be flown with massive restrictions on cargo and passenger capacity, so that initially only 181 passengers could be carried on board. Later, the seating arrangement of the A340-500 aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines was changed to a pure "business class" arrangement, with only 100 seats. For the first flight of this route, the machine needed around 22 minutes more. With the same type, the airline previously held the record on the Singapore - Los Angeles route with a flight time of 16 hours (14,700 km). Depending on the weather, the ultra-long-haul flight led via Siberia and the North Pole or Europe and the Atlantic and saved four hours compared to a transfer connection. The return flight was a little shorter as planned at 17 hours and 14 minutes. Both non-stop routes (Newark and Los Angeles) were suspended on November 23, 2013 for economic reasons. When these scheduled flights were discontinued, all Singapore Airlines A340-500s were retired. This means that there are no longer any A340 aircraft in their fleet.

The A340-500HGW ( H igh G ross W eight - Hohes overall flight weight) is a version with a maximum take-off weight increased by 12 tons to 380 tons and a more powerful variant of the Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines. The possible higher tank volume increases the range to 16,700 kilometers. The certification took place on February 15, 2007. The first machine was delivered to Thai Airways . The ultra-long-haul nonstop from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport was flown by Thai Airways in 17 hours 30 minutes. This long-haul connection was given up on July 1, 2008.

The A340-500 was the record holder in scheduled long-haul flight until the Boeing 777-200LR appeared in 2006 . The Airbus A340-500 as well as the Boeing 777-200LR occupy a relatively small niche segment, because the customer base is very small with the high airfares due to the considerable restrictions on the payload to achieve the maximum range. In addition, such long non-stop flights put a considerable strain on the aircraft's crews.

Air Canada has already resold their two copies of the type after only about three years; the new operator TAM also only used these machines for four years until they were shut down in 2011. One of the former Air Canada / TAM-A340-500 machines has since been scrapped, while no new operator has been found for the second one since 2011. Overall, the used market for the A340-500 is weak - of 35 units produced between 2002 and 2010, only eleven are still in use as of November 2015, four of which are government aircraft in VIP equipment. From December 2015 to August 2018, another A340-500 was leased from Italy as a government aircraft from the previous operator Etihad, initially including the crew.


Lufthansa Airbus A340-600
Virgin Atlantic Airways Airbus A340-600
Plan views of the A340-600

The fuselage of the A340-600, which was 7.5 m longer than the A340-500, made it the longest passenger aircraft in the world until the first flight of the Boeing 747-8 . At 75.30 meters, the aircraft is over two meters longer than the Airbus A380 (the largest passenger aircraft in the world to date). It has a range of 13,900 km and can carry up to 380 passengers in three classes or up to 419 in two classes. The goal was to replace the early versions of the Boeing 747 models 747-100, -200 and -300, as the A340-600 can carry the same number of passengers with twice the cargo volume and significantly lower direct operating costs. The first flight of the A340-600 took place on April 23, 2001. Virgin Atlantic Airways was the first airline to start operating this type in August 2002. As of May 2015, eight operators worldwide were still using A340-600.

The A340-600 was initially unable to meet the weight commitments and thus also some guaranteed performance values. The airline Virgin Atlantic therefore received replacement aircraft, and the seven too heavy copies were resold to Iberia Airlines and Cathay Pacific at a reduced price .

With a passenger aircraft of this length, Airbus has almost exhausted the maximum length of 80 meters standardized for aircraft handling at airports. This is why the A340-600 also has cameras to support the pilots when maneuvering at airports. Four 249 kN Rolls-Royce Trent 500 turbofans are used as engines. Because of the high take-off mass, the additional landing gear in the middle of the fuselage ( center gear ) on the A340-500 and -600 has two axes.

With some configurations of the A330 / A340 family, passengers can enter the lower deck: Airbus offers the so-called lower deck facilities as an option to increase the number of seats . In this configuration, an area of ​​the cargo hold, approximately level with the wing, is separated by walls and connected to the passenger compartment by a staircase, thus creating space for the sanitary facilities on the main deck. Depending on the configuration, four to six additional rows can be installed. In the case of the A340-600, all Lufthansa aircraft of this type have this special configuration.


To increase the range, a “ H igh G ross W eight” version of the A340-600 was also developed. The take-off weight ( MTOW ) was increased to 380 tons and the range increased to 14,600 km. This was achieved by increasing fuel capacity and using a more powerful version of the Rolls-Royce Trent 500. In order to reduce the weight of the aircraft structure at the same time, laser welding is now used in production. Overall, according to Airbus, this increases productivity by up to 18 percent compared to the “normal” A340-600.

The first flight of the A340-600HGW took place on November 18, 2005. After certification of the model in April 2006, scheduled service began in September 2006 after Qatar Airways received the first copy on September 12th.

At the Paris Air Show 2003, Emirates was the first customer to announce that it would order eighteen aircraft of this variant. However, this order was later postponed indefinitely because, according to Emirates, the aircraft was only partially competitive with the Boeing 777-300ER, which was also ordered . Other prospects raised similar concerns, and A340-600 sales lagged far behind those of the competing Boeing model.

First of all, Airbus proposed an A340-600E with new engines and further weight savings as a solution. These considerations were discarded because of the investment required, the development time required and a lack of customer interest. In November 2007, Emirates ordered twenty of the new A350-1000 aircraft - with this order, their order for the A340-600HGW was deleted from the Airbus books. Most recently, Virgin Atlantic canceled its last six A340-600s in late 2009 in exchange for a new A330-300 order. The last A340-600 was delivered to Iberia on August 4, 2010.


On August 2, 2005, an A340 crashed on Air France Flight 358 in Toronto

A total of six Airbus A340s were destroyed by accidents or the effects of war or damaged in such a way that they had to be written off as a total loss, only two of them in scheduled operation. No people were killed in these events. The loss rate of 0.61 total write-offs per one million scheduled flights by 2016 is slightly higher than the typical level of other commercial aircraft currently in operation, but otherwise only a few models introduced later have a casualty rate of 0. The following accidents aroused considerable media interest:

  • On January 20, 1994, an empty Air France A340-200 burned out due to a technical defect. Nobody was harmed in this accident.
  • On 5 November 1997, the A340-311 had to Virgin Atlantic Airways on the London Heathrow Airport emergency landing because the left part of the main landing gear was not fully extended.
  • On July 24, 2001, a Sri Lankan Airlines A340-300 was destroyed by the Tamil Tigers guerrilla force along with two A330s and one A320 of the airline.
  • On August 2, 2005, an Air France A340-313X touched down too late on the runway in Toronto during a severe storm and could not come to a stop in time. No people were killed and only a few injured in the accident. The aircraft burned out within a very short time (see also Air France flight 358 ) .
  • On 9 November 2007 slipped Quito (Ecuador) one A340 642 of the Spanish airline Iberia on the end of the rain-soaked runway out and only came in a gravel bed to a halt. Of the 333 passengers on board, apart from some minor bruises, all of them got away with the shock. In the accident, the machine lost three engines, one of the landing gear was torn out and the nose landing gear was also damaged.
  • On November 15, 2007, a brand-new A340-600 was so badly damaged during an engine test on the Airbus site in Toulouse that the machine had to be written off. The plane, which should have been delivered to Etihad Airways six days later , accidentally started moving and rolled into a concrete wall. This separated the cockpit section from the fuselage and fell about five meters to the ground on the other side of the wall. Five of the nine inmates were injured.
  • On March 20, 2009, Emirates Flight 407, an A340-500, was badly damaged when taking off from Melbourne Airport by a massive rear impact on the runway (also known as a tailstrike ). The investigation report came to the conclusion that the incorrect entry of the takeoff weight - 100 tons too low - led to the accident.
  • On June 11, 2018, a Lufthansa A340-300 (D-AIFA) was severely damaged in the bow area by a fire in a tow vehicle. Since the aircraft was unmanned during the towing process, there were no injuries, but the 18-year-old A340-300 had to be written off as a total loss.

Technical specifications

Parameter A340-200 A340-300 A340-300E A340-400 1) A340-500 A340-600 A340-600HGW
Length: 59.40 m 63.60 m 70.00 m 67.90 m 75.30 m 2)
Span: 60.30 m 63.45 m
Height: 16.80 m 17.80 m
Wing area: 361.63 m² 439.40 m²
Wing swept: 30.0 ° 31.5 °
Hull diameter: 5.64 m
Cabin width: 5.28 m
Range: 14,800 km 13,350 km 13,500 km 10,927 km 16,700 km 13,900 km 14,600 km
Cruising speed: 880 km / h 905 km / h
Max. Altitude: 12,500 m 12,525 m
Max. Takeoff weight: 257 t 271 t 276.5 t 267 t 380 t 368 t 380 t
Max. Landing weight: 181 t 192 t 206 t 246 t 259 t 265 t
Empty weight: 129 t 129 t k. A. k. A. 171 t 178 t k. A.
Type. Number of seats:
(2 classes)
(30B, 270Y)
(30B, 305Y)
k. A. 359
(30B, 329Y)
(36B, 383Y)
Type. Number of seats:
(3 classes)
(12F, 36B, 213Y)
(12F, 42B, 241Y)
335 313
(12F, 42B, 259Y)
(12F, 54B, 314Y)
Engines: Four CFMI CFM56 -5C2 Four CFMI CFM56-5C4s Four CFMI CFM56-5C Four Rolls-Royce Trent 553s Four Rolls-Royce Trent 556 Four Rolls-Royce Trent 560s
Thrust: 4 × 139 kN 4 × 151 kN 4 × 152 kN 4 × 236 kN 4 × 249 kN 4 × 267 kN

1) project; was never built

2) With a length of 75.30 m, the Airbus A340-600 is three meters longer than an Airbus A380 -800 and is currently third in the ranking of the longest aircraft, behind the Antonov An-225 (a cargo aircraft from which only one copy was completed) with a length of 84 m and the Boeing 747 -8I with a length of 76.40 m.

Sales and usage

List of orders and deliveries according to sample:

As of October 31, 2018

A340-200 / 300 A340-500 / 600 All in all
List Prices (in US $ million as of May 2008) 228 250.8
Orders 246 131 377
Extraditions 246 131 377
In operation 162 130 292

The biggest buyers of the Airbus A340
as of July 31, 2014

Airbus A340-200 / 300 Airbus A340-500 / 600
Lufthansa 15th Lufthansa 16
Iberia 17th Iberia 16
Singapore Airlines 17th Virgin Atlantic Airways 14th

The largest operators of the Airbus A340:
As of December 23, 2018

Airbus A340-200 / 300 Airbus A340-500 / 600
Lufthansa 15th Iberia 17th
SAS Scandinavian Airlines 8th Lufthansa 16
South African Airways 7th South African Airways 9
Hi Fly Malta 6th Mahan Air / Virgin Atlantic Airways 7th

The Airbus A340 as a government aircraft

The Airbus A340 has become a popular government aircraft over the years. The governments of Germany , France , Libya , Italy , Thailand , Turkey , Swaziland , Iran and Saudi Arabia have each purchased used machines, mostly from the fleet of airlines, and retrofitted them with VIP equipment. The governments of Egypt , Algeria , Kuwait and Qatar , on the other hand, have ordered brand-new A340s from Airbus, as have those of Brunei , where the last service aircraft of this type was taken out of service in July 2018.

See also


  • Dietmar Plath , Karl Morgenstern: Airbus A330 / A340. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-613-01728-8 .
  • Scott E. Germain: Airliner Tech Series Volume 3, AIRBUS INDUSTRY AIRBUS A340. Specialty Press, North Branch MN 2000, ISBN 1-58007-002-7 .
  • Robert Hewson: Airlife's Airliners: 16, Airbus A330 and A340. Airlife Publishing Ltd, Shrewsbury, England, ISBN 1-84037-341-5 .
  • Norbert Andrup: Airbus. From the A300 to the A380 and A350 . 1st edition. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-613-03330-6 .

Web links

Commons : Airbus A340  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. modernairliners: airbus-a340-history (English), accessed on January 24, 2020.
  2. a b Product page for the Airbus A340 family., accessed October 5, 2019 .
  3. a b Orders and Deliveries. , accessed April 16, 2018 .
  4. Delay for the A350, Aus for the A340 ,, accessed on November 16, 2011.
  5. Andreas Spaeth: Bye-bye, Airbus A340 ,, published on November 16, 2011.
  6. The late revenge for the Airbus trick , DIE WELT from January 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Norbert Burgner: The Airbus Story. In: FR 2/2000. FLIGHT REVUE Online January 10, 2000, archived from the original on February 6, 2009 ; accessed on January 26, 2009 .
  8. a b The success story of Airbus ( Memento from December 2, 2008 in the Internet Archive ),, accessed on August 18, 2019.
  9. SuperFan-powered A340 a possibility , Flight International, December 6, 1986, accessed on November 16, 2011.
  10. Dietmar Plath and Karl Morgenstern: Airbus A330 / A340. The great Europeans. Motorbuch Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-613-01728-8 .
  11. Improving Performance: EADS Reports Nine-Month Results 2011. EADS Deutschland GmbH, November 10, 2011, accessed on November 12, 2011 (English): “Reported EBIT * includes a positive one-off due to the termination of the A340 program of € 192 million. "
  12. Completion of production marks new chapter in the A340 success story , date: November 10, 2011, accessed: January 9, 2012.
  13. Max Kingsley-Jones: PICTURE: Last A340 Classic breaks cover in Toulouse. Flight International Online, September 12, 2008, accessed May 5, 2016 .
  14. Airbus A340 Production List , accessed on December 15, 2011 ( Memento from October 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Airbus: AJW Capital buys two A340-500s, AJW Capital becomes newest Airbus aircraft customer in, Date: November 15, 2012, Accessed: November 18, 2012.
  16. Stefan Eiselin: Last A340s go to Azerbaijan in, Date: December 20, 2012, Accessed: December 23, 2012.
  17. Airbus Orders and deliveries. Airbus, archived from the original on January 11, 2012 ; accessed on December 15, 2011 .
  18. Pierre Condom: The fly-by-wire family: one of the most fur-reaching decisions ever taken by Airbus was probably to equip the A320 with fly-by-wire controls, side stick controllers and electronic displays ( Memento from July 8th 2012 in the web archive ), CBS Business Library, October / November 2003, accessed on November 16, 2011.
  19. A330 Family ( Memento of February 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (English),, accessed on August 18, 2019.
  20. Partnership: A Milestone in International Cooperation ( Memento from November 23, 2011 in the Internet Archive ),, accessed on August 18, 2019.
  21. ^ Rolls-Royce Trent 500 , data sheet on, December 18, 2008, accessed on November 16, 2011.
  22. DERPART Reisevertrieb GmbH: "Austrian Airlines: Long-haul exotic Airbus A340-200s are being sold" (August 15, 2005).
  23. Stefan Kunert: Picture: Former Sultan of Brunei's unique A340-8000 derivative destined for Saudi Arabian VIP after nine years storage. Flight International Online, March 7, 2007, accessed May 5, 2016 .
  24. Airbus A340-300 Enhanced On Schedule For CFM56-5C / P Flight Tests ( Memento from December 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ),, July 21, 2002, accessed on August 18, 2019.
  25. Glenn Atienza: Handover of the first Airbus A340., March 30, 2011, accessed July 12, 2013 .
  26. Volker Mais: Flight readiness BMVg puts second Airbus A340 into service., October 5, 2011, accessed on July 12, 2013 .
  27. ^ University of Würzburg : Source for Airbus A340-400
  28. AIRBUS A340-500 / 600. Pyramid Media Group:, archived from the original on December 21, 2011 ; accessed on July 12, 2013 .
  29. ^ Report on the non-stop flight from Singapore to New York, Spiegel-Online, June 29, 2004
  30. airbus340-500.pdf. (PDF; 123 kB), accessed on July 12, 2013 (English).
  31. Spiegel Online: 19 hours travel time: Singapore Airlines discontinues longest passenger flight in the world , published and accessed on October 25, 2013.
  32. Airbus A340-541 - cn 445 , accessed on November 18, 2015.
  33. Airbus A340-541 - cn 464 , accessed on November 18, 2015.
  34. Airbus A340-500 Production List , accessed on November 18, 2015.
  35. Stefan Eiselin: No pilots for the new government jet. Aerotelegraph, December 30, 2015, accessed December 31, 2015 .
  36. ^ The Local : Renzi government jet contract scrapped in victory for Five Star. The Local, July 27, 2018, accessed July 6, 2019 .
  37. - China Eastern ends A340-600 revenue operations (English) May 8, 2015.
  38. Airbus press release ( Memento from June 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  39. Murdo Morrison: Emirates pushes Airbus to integrate A350 technology on A340-600. Flight International Online, May 5, 2006, accessed May 5, 2016 .
  40. Incidents involving the A340 at the Aviation Safety Network
  41. Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplanes Accidents (English; PDF; 153 kB).
  42. Report number 4/2000 of the AAIB (English; PDF; 7.75 MB).
  43. Aircraft accident data and report in the Aviation Safety Network (English)
  44. Aircraft accident data and report in the Aviation Safety Network (English)
  45. Aircraft accident data and report in the Aviation Safety Network (English)
  46. Photos of the incident. , accessed October 20, 2010 (English).
  47. Airbus : "Industrial accident at Airbus facility - Saint Martin site" (November 15, 2007)
  48. Picture of the accident Etihad A340-600 F-WWCJ / A6-EHG
  49. : Emirates A340 Accident Report Released May 6, 2009, accessed October 14, 2009.
  50. Aircraft accident data and report in the Aviation Safety Network (English)
  53. List of orders and deliveries of the Airbus A340
  54. Airbus: Detailed order and delivery list (linked as an Excel file on the page), accessed on November 15, 2018.
  55. Airbus: Airbus Aircraft Listprice 2010 (PDF document) ( Memento from February 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on February 5, 2009 in this version .