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SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 1:31 am

Even though SQ will be getting rid of their current A340s don't they still have 10 firm orders for the new 500 series airbus (do correct me if I got this wrong). Will the current cancellations affect these orders? I recently flew SQ (and I think) their inflight magazine still said that they have these new 500s on order.
I've flown on 9V-SPK.

RE: SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 2:25 am

Yes, they still have them on order...I dont think they will cancel their orders, specially with Boeing still commited on offering the GE90 as the only option for their new B777-200 ER (SQ prefers RR for their 777). But the A340-500 having the same range (or more) as the new upcoming 777 and seating slightly more passangers (313 in three classes vs. 295), the aircraft reamins very attractive to SQ.
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RE: SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 5:16 am

The whole engine thing will be over within a year probably. Delta won't order another 777 without the RR enigine on it and neither will American due to the fact that they are better engines. Delta always and still has problems with the PW engines on the MD-88's and refuses to by anymore. Also it will cost SQ more to keep track of Airbus and Boeing and SQ never really wanted to by a Airbus A-340 but were kind of pushed into a corner. They don't want another set of under powered poor proformance planes.
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Re:Delta Air

Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:10 am

What are you talking about? Delta's problem with the 777 is due to the pilots contract and has nothing to do with the engines. RR is still an option on all 777 models except for the as yet unlaunched 777X series. The highest gross weight 777ER currently being built is for American Airlines with RR Trent engines. It can service all of their routes to the far east.
Furthermore, what are you talking about with regard to the JT8D-219's on theh MD88? What problems is Delta having. I know they had an uncontained failure a few years ago in Pensacola Florida but that's it. This is an extremely mature engine flown on over 1,000 airliners. Why is Delta having problems with such a mature engine?

RE: SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:18 am

The A340 is not an "underpowered poor performance plane", the optimal speed for the aircraft (ie. the most economical) is slightly lower that the 777. If speed is an issue they can make it faster but not reach optimal performance. The A340 -500 with its newly designed wing will be faster.
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Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:28 am

The A340-300 is definately an underpowered plane. Its climb capabilities at best are marginal. Speed at which it operates was one of the reasons that SIA is getting rid of them. They prefer the747 and 777. I doubt that the order for the A340-500 will stand the test of time.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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RE: SQ A340-500/Engines

Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:39 am

I had heard that the A340 was to have an entirely new engine at the outset - one with a huge fan and shorter nacelle - but that development costs were far too high, so Airbus had to make do with an existing CFM engine platform. Does anyone know, will the A340-500 have different engines than existing A340s? If so, what types? I've always heard the A340 was a great aircraft. Why are so many airlines switching to Boeing?
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RE: SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:56 am

The A340-300 is designed for a certain purpose and it does that job well. It just so happens some routes can use the superior performance of the 777.
By the way, the 777-200X has better performance than the A340-500 in both range and payload. The 777-300X has better performance than the A340-600 both in range and performance. This information comes out of Aviation Week & Space Technology and Flight International.
Regarding the A340-500, I understand SQ has 5 on firm order and 5 options, not 10 firmly ordered. Is it logical for SQ to have only 5 aircraft of a type. In most cases no but they do already have A340 experience and materials and maybe some of those possibly can be applied to the new aircraft thus possibly resulting is savings.
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Thu Sep 23, 1999 10:04 am

I'm guessing that you have never watched an A340 take-off. The most notable A340 take-off was about a year ago when a Lufthansa was taking-off from Boston. Not only did it use up most of the runway but when it finally got off the ground it had one of the slowest ROC I've ever seen. Maybe that was a full plane, but no plane made recently has that slow a rate of climb even if it's full. A full 777 can get off the ground with little effort. I watch the morning British Airways 777 (BA238) and Lufthansa (LH423 or LH421) and SABENA (SN211, i believe), and the 777 gets off so much quicker than the A340, and the 777 has a heavier MGTOW than the A340.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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RE: SQ A340-500

Thu Sep 23, 1999 5:36 pm

SQ will keep their A340-500 orders for the time being. However, a leaked document suggests that the airline is again looking at the 777-200X because of the revised configuration of the Boeing. Now at 340.5t (7t heavier than when the A345 won the SQ competition) the 777-200X can carry a larger payload/ or have more range than the A340-500. This is particularly critical for SQ. The GE engine is not a big issue.

And the airline appears to be so interested in the 777-300X (the stretched version) that rumours are abounding an order for up to 20 airplanes and for SQ to be a launch customer.
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To: Ravi

Thu Sep 23, 1999 10:21 pm

Could you please enlighten me on the status of SQ's A310-300s. They seem to be ageing.

And how about their 10-year-old 747-400s? (Particularly the 9V-SMx series).

Thanks a lot.


Thu Sep 23, 1999 11:36 pm

We surely did not have the same experience. The last time I took a A340, I was impressed how promptly it took of the ground...And what makes the airplane so popular is not whether it takes off quicker or slower than the 777, it is the smothness and the quietness of the ride which no aircraft is comparable...and of course you have all the other issues like family communality, state-of-the-art technology and the comfort of flying in a four-engine plane. If that airplane was so underperforming like many of you guys think, what do you have to say to LH's new order (additional 8 A340s), and SR switching to the type? of course I wont even discuss the upcoming China Eastern order for A340-500/600...not to mention the games that Boeing is playing like buying their A340s to supply 777s----like they did for SQ. I guess this is the trick of buying 777 these days: if you dont have A340s, you cant buy 777s, since you have nothing that Boeing can "buy" from you...hahahaha!!!!
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Fri Sep 24, 1999 12:27 am

I think the issue is the A340's performance is more sedate due to the fact with 4 engines, you can have less installed thrust as you are likely to lose 25% of your power at takeoff with an engine failure. Contrast this with a twin which can lose 50% of its power on takeoff, and you have an aircraft designed to climb out at MGTOW on one engine safely. Imagine the performance of a twin engined aircraft on both engines. It is really almost loafing. That's the primary reason for the difference. Also, Swissairs new order is for the A340-600 which is a different aircraft from the A340-300 with much more installed thrust (at least 20,000 pounds more thrust per engine).
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RE: A340 And SQ

Sat Sep 25, 1999 1:16 am

Before SIA ordered the A340-500, they went through a very detailed analysis of the different competitors, which included the 777 and concluded that this aircraft was its best choice. Therefore, even in the light of its dumping of the -300s, I don't see why it should change its mind. The A340 is unlikely to remain the only FBW for too long, as the A310s will need replacing and the various A330 versions are best suited to this job.

Yes, it's true that the A340 is a bit slower, particularly on the climb, but it is still an excellent aircraft. Airbus's fuselage cross section is ideal and its freight capacity has always been excellent. I have no doubt that the A340-500 will serve SIA very well indeed.
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Sat Sep 25, 1999 4:14 am

Kaitak, I agree with a lot of your analysis except, the 777X examined at the time of the A340-500 decision is not the same 777X as today. Both of the 777X models in their current form would be an improvement over their respective A340-500/600 counterparts performance wise (and economics wise e.g. seat mile costs etc.). Other than that, I think your points are good.

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