irishpower
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The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:31 am

I realize that the advancements with the A330 and 777 squeezed the A340 and ended its run earlier than expected (375 delivered).
My question(s) are what will be the legacy of the entire A340 family? Success? Failure? A mix? Did it help push both A and B to fine tune the A330 and 777? Do you think Airbus was expecting to sell much more when it was originally created?

All in all, in 40 years will the A340 be seen in a positive or negative light?
 
connies4ever
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:28 am

I think one of the legacy items will be the pioneering of ULH routes, particularly for the A345.

From my limited experiences flying on it (with AC) it has to rank as probably the most comfortable jet I've been one (tied with A330), and much quieter than, say, the 777. The 2-2-2-2 seating was extremely passenger friendly.
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Clydenairways
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:00 pm

I'd call it an Ok sucuss, even though the amount produced was small, the A330 was part of the same project and family. So it was really not a seperate type in that sense.
It was also operated by a lot of Major operators.

The main problem was that more efficient Twins eventually caused the 340 to not be the most efficient aircraft in most missions, in the later years.

The Aircraft was very popular with lots of orders in the early years of it's life, but then when the improved versions of the 330 and 777 came along, the order book started to dry up.

The original 340 was also supposed to be powered by the SuperFan engine, and the CFM56 was only thrown into the ring after Superfan didn't go ahead. I don't know if this would have made a difference to sales if it had a newer engine.
The later -5/600 had newer engines, but maybe they should have just tried to make it a twin. Maybe influncial operators like Lufthansa insisted in a quad.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:15 pm

The A340, along with the A330, was a clean sheet design by Airbus to break into the L1011, DC-10 and 747 Classic replacement markets. In a sense, Airbus was clever enough to produce an aircraft in the A330 for short and mid-haul markets and then in the A340 for longhaul markets.

The A340 was up against the MD-11 and the 747-400. Yet for many airlines, it could be said that a 747-400 was too big, so it was a good aircraft for many airlines to acquire. Without the A340, would there have been the will for Boeing to develop the 777? Potentially the A330/A340 could have taken a lot of market share. Don't forget, in the late 1980s both CO and NW had A340s on order (and TW had A330s), while AA and DL were going for the MD-11. This left UA as the last US major to decide on an aircraft, and the A330/A340 might have been a good option if Boeing hadn't started the 777 project.

I think the legacy of the A340 is that it was a good aircraft, but one that was relatively quickly surpassed by technology. Heck, I think sometimes on here people are keen to trash the A340 versus the 777, but it's not that the A340 is a bad or uneconomic aircraft, it's just that the 777 is effectively best in class against the A340. The A346 (once the initial weight issues were sorted) is a good aircraft, offering big improvements over a 747. Yet the 77W manages that even better.
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Daysleeper
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:15 pm

I guess it depends on how you look at it. If you consider it as a separate type then I’d say it’s sales performance has been mediocre at best, perhaps just managing to pay for it’s self. However, it’s not really an independent type and is more like a 4 engined variant of the A330, or vice versa.

I also don’t think Airbus had any option but to produce it, as at the time it wasn’t possible to get an ETOPS180 certification on EIS. It was Boeings close working relationship with the FAA which allowed them to change the rules meaning the 777 entered service with ETOPS180. As Airbus didn’t have such a close relationship with the FAA, I very much doubt they could have done it.

With that in mind, then I think Airbus made the best of what they had, as a variant or sub-type then it has been successful. And the A330, well it’s on the way to becoming one of, if not the most successful Wide-body of all time.

Finally, not exactly relevant but, should there ever be a commercial aviation beauty pageant then she would win hands down.
 
cmf
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:37 pm

Quoting Irishpower (Thread starter):
Do you think Airbus was expecting to sell much more when it was originally created?

IIRC it was launched on the expectation of 200 x A340 and 400 x A330 sales.
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RussianJet
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:39 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 1):
it has to rank as probably the most comfortable jet I've been one

Same here. Regardless of what anyone else may think of the type in commercial terms, I will always regard it with great fondness for its superior level of comfort and quiet cabin. Also, it is a looker. The -600 is just gorgeous.
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Burkhard
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:10 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 5):
IIRC it was launched on the expectation of 200 x A340 and 400 x A330 sales.

So we can summarize that the A340 exceeded the expectations by a good margin, and the A330 is a way even optimist could not have dreamed of.
 
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seabosdca
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:15 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 5):
IIRC it was launched on the expectation of 200 x A340 and 400 x A330 sales.

I think it was the reverse -- Airbus expected the A340 to be the volume seller and the A330 to be a specialty product for regional ops.

But then the 777 made life difficult for the A340, while Airbus was able to squeeze far more capability out of the A330 than it originally expected.

The A340 was a success, but not an overwhelming one. But the A330 was a grand slam home run.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:56 pm

A-340-200 = failure
A-340-8000 = failure
A-340-300 = success
A-340-500 = failure
A-340-600 = failure
---------------------------
TOTAL = mixed

Five different models of the A-340 were eventually produced, including the one and only A-340-8000. The A-340 did fly for many airlines, and several of those operated the B-747-400 and A-340-300 but on different missions.
 
cmf
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:11 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 8):
I think it was the reverse -- Airbus expected the A340 to be the volume seller and the A330 to be a specialty product for regional ops.

No, the ratio was 1/3 A340 and 2/3 A330. They did expect twin engines to take over. It just happened faster than they expected.

The A340 came first because at that time it wasn't realistic with twins for that flight profile. Airbus had pushed twin engine operations with the A300/A310 but can you imagine how hard it would have been for them to get FAA approval for extending it to the A340 flight profile. Not to mention to get engine manufacturers to produce it.
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aaexecplat
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:17 pm

While the A340 as a standalone aircraft may not have been a smashing sales success, I think it is fair to say that the A340/A330 program as a whole has been a huge success that has (and continues to) provided the European countries who ponied up launch capital with a nice stream of royalties.

From a customer perspective, I have flown all variants (A342, A343, A345, A346) multiple times, and there can be no doubt that in terms of passenger comfort, the A340 is a fantastic aircraft because the cabin is wonderfully quiet. I have always preferred the A340 (or A330) over the Boeing 777 for that very reason. I just flew Singapore's 77Ws and A333s as well as LH A333, and the experience reaffirmed my general experience. That said, SQ's hard and soft product in Y are better than any other Y class I've ever flown, so that more than made up for the noisier cabin.
 
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Focker
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:33 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
including the one and only A-340-8000

I must have missed out on that one... What kind of plane was that supposed to be?
 
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seabosdca
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:18 pm

Quoting Focker (Reply 13):
I must have missed out on that one... What kind of plane was that supposed to be?

It was an "A340-200X." Just the -200 with the higher MTOW and uprated engines of the -300X. It was so named because it was planned to have 8000 nm nominal range.
 
Cyanide72
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:19 pm

Quoting Focker (Reply 13):



I know it's not really reliable, but Wikipedia seems to have an answer to this one. I too wasn't aware of an A340-8000 but apparently one was built for the Sultan of Brunei who asked for an 8000nm range, hence the 8000 nomenclature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340#A340-200

Interesting...
 
Gingersnap
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:21 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
A-340-8000 = failure

Wasn't that based on a request by the Sultan of Brunei? -200 body with 8000nm range with a similar MTOW to the -300 variant.
I think you only included the -8000 in that list in an attempt to further bash an Airbus product IMO.
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Daysleeper
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:48 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
A-340-200 = failure
A-340-8000 = failure
A-340-300 = success
A-340-500 = failure
A-340-600 = failure
---------------------------
TOTAL = mixed

I don't see the point in this, especially since your including one off VIP versions. The A330A340 project, and they are one project with the same tooling, same production etc, is massively successful. It has already made billions in profit for Airbus and it's showing no signs of slowing down, so there is still much more to come.

Also, if we applied the same criteria you have used on the A340 variants to the 747 then versions like the 100SR, 200C, 300, 300M and 300SR would all be classed as "Failures" too. And that isn't a detailed list, there will be more especially if we got into VIP frames as you have.
 
bavair
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:50 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):


A-340-600 = failure

I agree on the other ones, but the A346=Failure? I'm not too sure about this one. It's the most economical aircraft out of the bunch, while only having about half the orders of the A343, it will continue to remain in the airline's fleets for a much longer time and overall gave Airbus the stepping stone for larger projects (aka A380).
 
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:52 pm

The A340 was the 4-engined MD-11.
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BrianDromey
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:01 pm

Quoting Irishpower (Thread starter):
the A340 and ended its run earlier than expected (375 delivered).

Comercially the programme is undoubtedly a success, sure it' not as successful as the primary competitor, the 777 but it is still not a bad showing.
For all its failings the A345 is still used on the longest flights in the world, SIN-EWR and SIN-LAX. These are far and away longer than any other currently operated commercial flight. Of course that does not mean a lot, but the A345 is still has at least one claim to fame!
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seabosdca
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:09 pm

Quoting incitatus (Reply 20):
The A340 was the 4-engined MD-11.

Hardly. The A340 sold nearly twice the copies of the MD-11. The A340 arrived meeting spec, and rapidly improved; the MD-11 missed spec by a monstrous margin at EIS, and only recovered to the original spec, never improving past it. Unlike the MD-11, operators didn't prematurely retire the A340 en masse.

[Edited 2012-02-06 08:10:58]
 
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EPA001
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:33 pm

Quoting FlyCaledonian (Reply 3):
The A340, along with the A330, was a clean sheet design by Airbus to break into the L1011, DC-10 and 747 Classic replacement markets. In a sense, Airbus was clever enough to produce an aircraft in the A330 for short and mid-haul markets and then in the A340 for long-haul markets.

The A340 was up against the MD-11 and the 747-400.


Good summary.

The A340 (all models) were imho a huge success since they allowed Airbus to enter new markets where they had never been present before. And these markets were dominated by Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas. But Airbus found some solid ground where they had never walked before, and many customers were very happy with the planes they received from Airbus in multiple ways.

It clearly beat the MD-11 sales wise, and accelerated Boeing to develop a plane in more or less the same size category, which became the now phenomenal B777. It was the foundation for Airbus to go on developing larger airplanes (beginning with the A340-500/600) and culminating in the A380.

Sales wise the competition (in house with the A330 and external by the B777) did not do the A340 all the justice she deserved. But the ETOPS-rules changing was probably the most deciding factor into that and of course that the super fan engines were not going to be delivered as originally proposed. So the proposal what Airbus had in mind did not materialize, and for a "plan B" the aircraft has performed very, very well.  .

Economically the A330-A340 program was and still is an enormous success, though the A345/A346 might not have earned back all the development costs. But then again, the other A340's did, and even more, the A330 did that 10 x over. All in all a huge success for Airbus bringing them to where they are now, for the 6th or 7th consecutive year the overall number 1 aircraft manufacturer in civilian aviation.  .

On a personal note: with the A345 Airbus created the most beautiful looking aircraft in civilian aviation for a long time to come. To me the B787 and also the A350 will not match that level of beauty.  .

[Edited 2012-02-06 08:35:15]
 
tsnamm
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:42 pm

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 24):
On a personal note: with the A345 Airbus created the most beautiful looking aircraft in civilian aviation for a long time to come.

I feel the A346 takes the cake for the most beautiful/aesthetically pleasing of recent types. The stretch just adds something to it for me, it has a classic 707 look to it with the much larger frame...CX's looked very nice and so does VS's...always a pleasure to see it...
 
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:52 pm

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 25):
I feel the A346 takes the cake for the most beautiful/aesthetically pleasing of recent types.

I'll disagree. The A346 looks a bit too long. The shorter versions looked better proportioned, although then they start to look like the IL-96, so they look like twins to me.

707, you are right on the money there. Classy (DC-8, too, but not too stretched), design still in use today, versatile, good looking plane. As far as best looking recent types, for widebodies the 777LR is drop dead pretty, conceptually the CSeries looks to be a beautiful looking plane. and the 757 is one of the best designs out there, bar none.

Can't forget the L1011, 737-700 or A319. Good looking aircraft.
 
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BobMUC
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:03 pm

From a commercial aspect, it's definitely a mixed picture. But Airbus has used the 340 as the base for the 330 and the 330/340 family will be a growing success... as EAP001 and FlyCaledonian have already wrote.

Personally, the 346 is the best looking bird out there... besides the DC3...  
 
Alias1024
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:15 pm

I think it's fair to say that the A340 legacy is mixed.

As a standalone aircraft it didn't sell all that well. Throw in the development costs of building the 500/600 and it likely wasn't a very profitable aircraft for Airbus.

However, what the aircraft did that's more important is how it blunted the MD-11, swinging likely MD customers over to Airbus (helping sink MD and thereby removing a competitor) and likely led to many A330 sales from happy A340 operators.

That's why I say the A340 legacy is mixed. The aircraft never sold in great numbers, but it surely was a thorn in the side to MD. Without the A340 the MD-11 wins many more orders almost by default until the 777 got longer legs.

Obviously as an entire program the A330/A340 program has been hugely successful. I don't think anyone can claim otherwise.
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HBGDS
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:12 pm

Long story short: The A340's legacy is the A330. And with hindsight, Airbus really, really wishes it had guessed that.
 
richierich
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:20 pm

Quoting HBGDS (Reply 26):
Long story short: The A340's legacy is the A330. And with hindsight, Airbus really, really wishes it had guessed that.

Agreed.
I think the legacy can be summed up as "four engines is not for the long-haul". Twin operations are here to stay and that is where the future of all but the largest transports (B748 / A380) will remain.
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U2380
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:48 pm

The A340 might not have been as successful as the 777 but I do believe the A330/40 family was a massive step (along with the A320) in allowing Airbus to become the great success that they are today.

As other posters have previously mentioned, in the 1970s Boeing had a huge amount of control over the engine manufacturers, airlines and in some respects the FAA. At that time Airbus simply did not have the 'stature' to create anything but the A340 combo. I would argue that it was just too risky. Boeing did. They used that to create the 777 and the rest is history.

Fast forward to 2012 and engine manufacturers will more or less bend head over heels for Airbus (well RR and to a certain extent PW). I would argue that the A340 was a big step in helping them to achieve that.

Inadvertently, the A340 also 'helped' create the massive success that is the 777. In a roundabout way Boeing earned as much out of the A340 as Airbus did!

[Edited 2012-02-06 10:51:32]
 
Independence76
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:57 pm

This is slightly off-topic, but does anyone remember the first impressions of the industry when the A330/A340 program was launched in 1986? At the time, the USSR/Eastern Bloc was still around. It's been said that after the IL-86 first flight in 1977 that Airbus was already working to develop specs on a new wide-body competitor.

The official announcement came 6 years after the IL-86's first commercial flight and Ilyushin seemed to respond by announcing the development of a Fly-By-Wire, wingleted, glass cockpit, and improved version (the IL-96) in 1988.

Was one of the first motives for development inspired by Cold War competition tactics?



And an off-topic question: Did the original A330/A340 prototypes have winglets designed with them, or were they added on the drawing board later?
 
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:07 pm

Quoting HBGDS (Reply 26):
Long story short: The A340's legacy is the A330. And with hindsight, Airbus really, really wishes it had guessed that.

I think that's only part of the story. The A340 undoubtedly gave Airbus the potential sales they needed to launch the A330/A340 project. I have to wonder if the A330 would have been approved as a stand alone program without the A340 being in the picture. It also undoubtedly introduced many airlines to the family and led to A330 sales in later years.

In my opinion, the death of McDonnell Douglas as an independent company is also part of the legacy of the A340. Without the A340, the MD-11 would have run solely against the 747-400 until the 777 was upgraded from the baseline model and had the range to fly the same routes. With the size difference between the 747 and MD-11, the MD-11 would have been the only reasonable option for many operators. With a couple hundred more airframes sold, MD likely would have had the cash to either fully realize a narrowbody family to compete with the 737 and A320, or perhaps build a widebody twin that would have competed against the 767 and A330 (if it even existed).
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notaxonrotax
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:21 pm

We can not just omit the A330 program in this story………unless of course the intention is to bad-mouth Airbus´s commercial performance.

Quoting incitatus (Reply 18):

The A340 was the 4-engined MD-11.

Oh yeah, identical--> look at the accident rate for starters!
They are a spitting image!! Well spotted!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):

A-340-200 = failure
A-340-8000 = failure
A-340-300 = success
A-340-500 = failure
A-340-600 = failure
---------------------------
TOTAL = mixed

Well well, who would have thought……..
This does not include the A330--> surprisingly enough.

Let us just compare this with the B767-400 for reference…..a complete failure?
"No"……according to many on A.net--> because it can´t be seen separate from the B767-200 / B767-300. And I agree!
What a shame we can´t do the same with A330 / A340.

It was a great plane but the new ETOPS regulations meant that her days were numbered rather rapidly………..shame, really. A330 will be around for a LOOONG time however……...

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SuperCaravelle
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:47 pm

Quoting HBGDS (Reply 26):
Long story short: The A340's legacy is the A330. And with hindsight, Airbus really, really wishes it had guessed that.

I doubt it. Of course, Airbus, like any other company, would like to know everything years in advance. But, as someone argued correctly, the A340 was the only way for Airbus to break into the long-haul business. When designed and launched, the A330 wasn't a long-haul aircraft (you might argue that it's still medium-haul today, but you get the point), because of ETOPS mostly. In the end, the A340 became a victim of own success, it triggered new clean sheet designs after its own introduction, rendering it inefficient quite quickly, thanks to a brilliant Boeing 777 and consequently new ETOPS rules, giving the 777 the chance to shine.

I also feel the A340 doesn't get the credit it deserves. It is not that uneconomical, many major airlines continue to operate it till this date, and if I recall correctly, LX called it their best performing plane (that might be the whole picture, of which fuel economy is only a relatively small part, but still). At the moment, the A.net image of the A340 suffers because a lot of airlines currently are making the decision to replace it with newer designs.
 
irishpower
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:46 pm

I totally agree that the success of the A340 was the A330 (in the long run).

Why were the improvements to the A330 so much more effective than the improvements to the A340 (aside from the 4 engines vs. 2 engines argument)?

The A340-300E which had better high/hot performance was the only major improvement to the 200/300 family correct?
 
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seabosdca
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:50 pm

Quoting Irishpower (Reply 33):
Why were the improvements to the A330 so much more effective than the improvements to the A340 (aside from the 4 engines vs. 2 engines argument)?

The biggest reason is empty weight, although 2 engines vs. 4 also played a part. The A330 and A342/3 are relatively lightweight for what they can do. The A340NG added a LOT of empty weight to achieve its higher payload-range capability. An even higher-weight A343 might have enjoyed some success, but the engines were simply maxed out. CFM could not realistically have added more thrust.
 
tonymctigue
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:55 pm

My thoughts on this one are yes, the A340 series were fantastic aircraft but they suffered from a similar fate as the MD-11 (with the exception that the A340 met the performance targets). The MD-11 was obsolete before it ever went into production as it was obvious that B767/A300 sized twins would be the future for missions previously perfomed by the DC-10. The A340 was not obsolete before it went into production because of the ETOPS restrictions at the time but became obsolete pretty quickly once ETOPS restrictions weer relaxed, bringing the B777 into the direct competion with the A340. No quad can ever compete with a twin these days.

I would sum up the A340 by saying it is to the A380 what the A300 was to the A330. Though the A300/A310 didn't sell as many frames as the B767, it did show the world that Airbus could produce a twin-jet, widebody that could compete with the B767. This opened up what was new market for Airbus at the time. The A340 family similarily proved that Airbus were capable of producing a quad-jet, widebody aircraft that could compete with the B747-400 which was also a new market for Airbus at the time. It proved that Airbus could produce very large aircraft for very long flights as good as if not better than anything Boeing could produce and from that point of view, it was a success.
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gigneil
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:57 pm

No there was the A340-300X which was the main seller of the family. And to be fair, most of the improvements to the A330 came from improvements to the A340.

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ODwyerPW
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:23 pm

It was the only Widebody, Single Deck, Quad Engined plane every built.

1 Deck, 2 Isles, 4 Engines. The only of it's kind ever produced. no?
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GBLKD
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:29 pm

Quoting odwyerpw (Reply 37):
It was the only Widebody, Single Deck, Quad Engined plane every built.

1 Deck, 2 Isles, 4 Engines. The only of it's kind ever produced. no?

Sadly no, there is also the IL-96 so the A340 isn't unique in that respect

http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Aer...an_Airlines_Ilyushin_IL-96-300.php
 
legoguy
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Quoting odwyerpw (Reply 37):
It was the only Widebody, Single Deck, Quad Engined plane every built.

1 Deck, 2 Isles, 4 Engines. The only of it's kind ever produced. no?

Lets not forget the IL-86 and IL-96  
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dennys
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:07 pm

Even if the A340-200 " is a failure" , she is the best quad looking airplane . Thanks to all airlines lauching her between 1987 and 1998 !
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:50 pm

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 22):
I feel the A346 takes the cake for the most beautiful/aesthetically pleasing of recent types.
Quoting dennys (Reply 40):
Even if the A340-200 " is a failure" , she is the best quad looking airplane . Thanks to all airlines lauching her between 1987 and 1998 !

A346 is a bit too long, but looks amazing and I felt I was on an ERJ-145 because it was very agile and powerful when making turns. It terms of visual appeal, my favorite of the A340 family is A345 - not too long, not too short, nice powerful engines, incredible lines, just a beautiful aircraft.

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Caryjack
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:01 pm

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 6):
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 1):
it has to rank as probably the most comfortable jet I've been one

Same here. Regardless of what anyone else may think of the type in commercial terms, I will always regard it with great fondness for its superior level of comfort and quiet cabin. Also, it is a looker. The -600 is just gorgeous.
  
I'd vote for this. I've been on IB A-346s a few times (Gaudi was 1) and can say it was the smoothest, quietest ride I've ever had. I also think it's the nicest looking airliner. I know it looks too long in photos but in person its a different story. There must be something about streached airliners that makes them less photogenic.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 1):
The 2-2-2-2 seating was extremely passenger friendly.

Could it have been 2 - 4 - 2 seating? That's how the IB airliners are configured.
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jfk777
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:02 pm

Saying the A340 was a failure is unfair, it like saying the 747SP was a failure. The A330/340 program allowed Airbus to go into the long haul which it could only do at that time in teh A310-300. The evolution of the A330 killed the A340, so what, 20 years ago no one knew when GE and RR were going to make an engine for the A330 to go as far as an A340. Well that happened a few years ago and airline like Lufthansa and SWISS ordered the big twin Airbus. Then A330-300 is flying many route up to 12 hours very efficiently.
 
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:19 pm

The A340 is, along with the A320, one of two airplanes that made Airbus a serious competitor to Boeing. Airbus's future successes would have been impossible had there been no A340.

Given that, it amazes me that anyone is even asking this question.

It amazes me even more that anyone is comparing the A340 with the MD-11. The A340 marked Airbus's successful entry into the market for long-range aircraft, successfully advanced the technology and performance of this class of aircraft beyond all existing competitors (though the 777 soon went beyond the A340), met and then exceeded its performance benchmarks, sold in fairly large numbers, and will no doubt continue in service with many airlines around the world for the rest of its "natural" life.

The MD-11 killed MDC as a maker of long-range aircraft (and arguably commercial aircraft altogether), did not push any technological or performance boundaries, spectacularly failed to meet its performance benchmarks and was basically dead commercially by the time it did, sold poorly, was retired very prematurely by virtually all original customers, and was essentially regarded as useful only as a cargo aircraft at a time when had it been successful it should have still been selling.

And then when you consider that Airbus has always considered the A330/A340 program one program, the question becomes even more absurd. Taken as a whole the A330/A340 is one of the most successful aircraft families ever made. It is every bit as successful as the 777. Like the A320 family, when one considers that it was the very first attempt at building this type of aircraft by its manufacturer and that it incorporated technological risks that more established competitors were not yet willing to take, the fact that it turned out to be a massive commercial success is absolutely remarkable.
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:15 am

Quoting bavair (Reply 17):
while only having about half the orders of the A343, it will continue to remain in the airline's fleets for a much longer time

Actually, I rather doubt this. I fear that the A340-600 may be rather short-lived in most fleets. We already know that VS are ditching a few.

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 21):
The A340 [...] allowed Airbus to enter new markets where they had never been present before.

I think this is the most important thing. The A340 was Airbus' entry into long-haul. Without it, we probably wouldn't have the A380 or A350 or even the later and better A330s.
 
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:17 am

The legacy of the A340 is to empty my bank account as I contemplate flying the most beautiful airliner ever built by Airbus. (I was going to say, ...in Toulouse but that of course would La Caravelle.) Thai International are pulling the plug on their ultra-longhaul route to Los Angeles at the end of April, and I will be in Bangkok that week, and I've always fancied a ride on Thai's 16 hour marathon to California. Well, I'll be in place, and it's now or never. £718 one way is a lot of cash though. But look what you get for it...

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Stitch
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:30 am

While only one A340-8000 was built, later models of the A340-200 - the A340-213X - had most of the PiPs and performance of the A340-8000 to give them a similar 8000nm range. So they should be considered effectively the same model.

Personally, I think the A340-500 is the best looking airliner in commercial service today.

I've never been a big fan of the A330's aesthetics - long fuselage and long wings with tiny little engines. Having four engines really balances out the aesthetics, IMO.


As for it's legacy, it established Airbus as a legitimate player in long-haul aviation. It was safe, reliable and economical - three factors sure to please an operator.

[Edited 2012-02-06 16:32:49]
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:50 am

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 30):
In my opinion, the death of McDonnell Douglas as an independent company is also part of the legacy of the A340. Without the A340, the MD-11 would have run solely against the 747-400 until the 777 was upgraded from the baseline model and had the range to fly the same routes. With the size difference between the 747 and MD-11, the MD-11 would have been the only reasonable option for many operators. With a couple hundred more airframes sold, MD likely would have had the cash to either fully realize a narrowbody family to compete with the 737 and A320, or perhaps build a widebody twin that would have competed against the 767 and A330 (if it even existed).

That assumes that without the A330/A340, the 777 would have even come to the market. Or at least as soon as it did.

Quoting SuperCaravelle (Reply 32):
In the end, the A340 became a victim of own success, it triggered new clean sheet designs after its own introduction, rendering it inefficient quite quickly, thanks to a brilliant Boeing 777 and consequently new ETOPS rules, giving the 777 the chance to shine.

Exactly, with the 777 Boeing was coming to the market last for this size of plane, but could see exactly what the competition had on offer and built on it. That Boeing was able to get ETOPS 180 from the beginning meant that when it begain service in the mid-1990s the 777 was a game changer.

As a point of interest look at SQ. They ordered the MD-11, as it was the sort of aircraft they wanted for routes such as SIN-CDG, which would have been too big (at the time) for a 744. However, they cancelled when they saw what the MD-11 could (or rather couldn't) do and ordered A340-300s. When the 77E was shown to be such a success, they then ditched the A340-300s for 777-212ERs. The sting in the tail for Boeing is that the developments with the A330 means that SQ is now taking delivery of a lot of A330-300s for the regional Asian routes that the 777 was originally ordered by SQ to operate, because of it's better operating costs on those sectors!

In a sense, you've got to feel for Airbus. The A342/A343 were a succesful break into new markets. The 77E comes along and changes the game. They then develop the A345/A346, which are good aircraft, but Boeing then blows their performance out the water with the 77L and 77W. Add in high oil prices, and whilst not uneconomical to operate it became a case that for new operators it made more sense to go with a 777.
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RayChuang
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RE: The Legacy Of The A340

Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:00 am

The legacy of the A340 was simple: it was the first Airbus model that could fly really long routes, and as such pioneered flying smaller planes on many of these long routes.

Unfortunately, the 777 obsoleted the A340, and even Airbus' own A330-200--as its range increased from 6,400 to nearly 7,200 nm--made the A340 redundant. Indeed, I foresee A340-200/300 models heading for the "boneyard" in big numbers as the 787-8/9 and A350-800/900 arrive in service over next seven years.

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