One thing that strikes me about Airbus is the similarity between the aircraft, at least on the interior. Each model seems to have its own character from the outside well enough but inside its always the same old 2-4-2 interior pioneered on the A300 almost 30 years ago. Don't get me wrong, they have some beautiful aircraft these days and this is just a nagging observation of my own.
My real question is: Why did Airbus build BOTH the A330 and the A340? Admittedly, my knowledge of this topic is basic at best so please bear with me.
Having flown both planes, it seems as though the A330 is simply a carbon copy of the A340 with slightly higher capacity...depending of course on which variant we are talking about (332/333 and/or 342/343). A visit to the Airbus website seemed to confirm this....the two planes share an identical wing and a quick look at the specs shows that the 330 is some 16ft longer than the A340-200. The 330 appears to have the exact same specifications as the 343. So why build both??
I would venture that the A340 provides the platform on which to build the A340-500 and A340-600 in the years to come, a platform that cannot be handled by a twin but I could be wrong. I welcome any comments any of you experts can share.
Also, what prevented Airbus from building a massive sized twin to compete head to head with the B777? It seems they are flouting the A340 as its longer range, four-engined competition especially with all the talk about ETOPS over the Pacific of late. It seems they have lost a lot of potential customers to Boeing. If the A330 came out in 1995 then why did it take so long for the airlines to start buying them in droves??
Just for fun, let me throw in my opinion that Airbus is disgraceful for its ETOPS comments saying that 207 minute twin ops are unreliable. This is not motivated by passenger concern but by a desire to sell their the 345 and 346 to Cathay and SIA instead of the 777X or whatever else. But they are a business so what else should they do I suppose?