The A340-300 began commercial service in March 1993 with Lufthansa and Air France.
The A340-300 is the four engine variant of the A 330-300. Both types were launched together. Both aircraft used techonolgies found on the A320.
The A340-300 flies 295 passengers in a typical three-class cabin layout over 6,700 nautical miles (12,400 km).
2002 : with Lufthansa at Frankfurt
2003 : with Kuwait airlines at Amsterdam
2004 : with Scandinavian airlines in Seattle
The Airbus A 340-300 has been used by: Lufthansa (30), Air France (22), Iberia (18), Cathey Pacific (15), Virgin Atlantic (10), Swiss (8), Air Canada (8), Scandinavian (7), Turkish airlines (7), China Airlines (6), Air Mautitius (5), Gulf air (5), Air Tahiti Nui (5), Tap (4), Olympic Airlines (4), Lan Chile (4), Philippine Airlines (4), China Eastern (4), Kuwait Airlines (4), South African (3), Air Jamaica (3), Sri Lankan (3), Air China (3), BWIA (2), Austrian (2), ... which makes a total of 191 aircraft. In 2006 only Finnair (3) ordered the A340-300.
By january 2007 Airbus had recieved a total of just over 200 orders for the A340-300. The Boeing 777-200ER had sold much better.
The 4-enigined A340-300 was intended to fly over oceans on the long-haul were no airports are available in case of an emergency landing.
When the A340 first flew in 1991 engineers noticed a potentially major design flaw in the first model: the wings were not strong enough to carry the outboard engines at cruising speed without warping and fluttering. To alleviate this an underwing bulge called the plastron was developed to fix airflow problems around the engine pylons. The A340-300 is also said (joke) to be hair dryer powered. The A340-300 engines are capable of 31 to 34,000lbs. The airplane is much quieter than the MD 11.
In 1997 a longer range shortened version of the original A 340-300 was delivered in order to increase range: the A340-200. Very little A340-200 have been sold. The A340-300 and the A340-200 were no match for the Boeing 777-200ER also introduced in 1997.
In 2002 the ultra long A 340-600 and the ultra long range A 340-500 were introduced. These 4-enigined aircraft were no match for their 2-enigined Boeing rivals, introduced in 2004 (Boeing 777-300ER) and 2006 (Boeing 777-200LR).
In august 2005 there had been a total of 244 orders for Airbus A340-300 and A340-200 aircraft together. 239 of these aircraft had been delivered by 2005 and 237 were still in operation at that time. In january 2006 total orders was still standing at 244. Only 236 aircraft were in operation by january 2006, as in august 2005 one Air France A340-300 was lost in Toronto after landing. In august 2006 total deliveries remained at 239, and total A340-300 and A340-200 in service remained at 236, but total orders had risen to 247 (3 from Finnair).
By january 2006 a total of 381 orders had been made for the 4 variants of the 4-enigned A340 (-300, -200, -500, -600).
The A 330-300 and A330-200 did much better, as together they reached 600 orders by november 2006.
In 2005 Airbus launched the A350 as the A330/A340 couldn't match the Boeing 777 and 787. In 2006 airbus had trouble with the A380, and also Airbus was unclair about the twin engined A350 specifications.
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