There are mixed reports about AR
's A342s. It is true that on the database, several pictures are labelled "A340-213X", but whether or not they were converted, they are generally referred to as standard "A340-211"s back at home. 2 things do draw my attention, however:
On AR's website, the A340-200 is advertised as boasting a 14,600km range, which does support the claim that they have been converted to -213X models.
However, how much would the conversions have cost for the entire fleet of four aircraft, when were they carried out, and were they worthwhile granted that the longest non-stop service operated by AR is EZE-FCO (11,035km)? Even CDG, which was briefly operated by the A342s in 1999/2000 was scarcely 100km more than FCO, and AKL is much less.
On the other hand, 14 hour sectors do sound much for your average A340, so perhaps the fuel-burn on the EZE
is such that it merited the installation of additional fuel-tanks for the aircraft.
As for the A340-200, I never really knew too much about the aircraft. I always thought it was sorta pointless to have a four engined plane the length of the A330-200... sorta like strapping two extra engines to a 767 and giving it 7,100 nm range.
I think you'll find that the A342 entered service 6 years before the A332, so it is not a simple case of "strapping two extra engines" to an A330 in this case. The A330 and A340 are in any case unique in that they are virtually the same airframes just with a different number of engines (of course the A345/6 is something else...). Henceforth, sales of the two aircraft look more impressive when combined rather than viewed separately, in a similar way to the B757 and B767.
Que tal? Well, the A345 won't be needed in the short term due to the B744s, but in theory, AR
planned to operate such an aircraft to Australasia, East Asia, and among some of their wilder dreams, Dubai and the Mediterranean. As I'm sure you've seen though, Mata has said his fair share of "boludeses" since he took over AR
, among them have been many of his proposed new destinations (ATH
, CAI, DXB
). In any case, he is not in favour of the A345/6 (ordered under SEPI administration), but realises that it is wiser to "indefinitely postpone" the existing order than to officially cancel. Veremos...