Airbus A340 Spotting Guide


 

Airbus A340-500 of Ethiad AirwaysAirbus A340 of Ethiad Airways

The four-engine, wide-bodied Airbus A340 was assembled at Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched A340-600 series.

A total of 377 A340s were produced between 1991 and 2011; it is currently out of production, but remains in active service with several airlines.

Launch customers were Lufthansa and Air France, which placed the A340 into service in March of 1993. Lufthansa is the biggest operator of the A340, with 59 A340s in its fleet at peak deployment.

Four models were produced:

  • A340-200
  • A340-300
  • A340-500
  • A340-600

The most common model was the A340-300, with 218 aircraft delivered.

The A340 is used on long-haul, trans-oceanic routes due to its immunity from ETOPS restrictions. However, as the reliability and fuel efficiency in engines have improved, airlines have gradually phased out the A340 in favor of the more economical Boeing 777 twinjet. Airbus has positioned the larger variants of the Airbus A350 as a successor.

Airbus A340 Spotting Tips

If a 4-engine airliner has two engines under each wing, it must be a Boeing 747, Airbus A380 or Airbus A340. Identifying the 747 and A380 is easy for many spotters, leaving the A340 an obvious spot.

The A340 features a two-wheel front landing gear, and two four-wheel assemblies under the wings. In addition, the A340-200/300 has two additional wheels under the fuselage, and the A340-500/600 has an additional four wheels under the fuselage.

A 4-engine, wide body Air Canada Airbus A340-500 showing its landing gear configuration with a total of 14 wheels. All passengers are housed on a single deck.

View of the undercarriage of an Airbus A340-600 of Virgin Atlantic
View of the undercarriage of an Airbus A340-600 of Virgin Atlantic

 

Airbus A340 Photographs

Airbus A340-200 of South African Airways
Airbus A340-200 of South African Airways

Airbus A340-300 of Lufthansa
Airbus A340-300 of Lufthansa

Airbus A340-313 of Air Canada
Airbus A340-313 of Air Canada

Airbus A340-500 of Ethiad Airways
Airbus A340-500 of Ethiad Airways

Cathay Pacific A340-600
Cathay Pacific A340-600


Airbus A340 of Air France Landing at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St. Maarten ... One of our favorite airports!

 

Airbus A340 Airliners Parked at Storage Facilities in the Desert

Jetliners in storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in the Arizona desertAirbus A340-300, registration EC-KOU, in Iberia Airline livery in storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport (Staff photo)

Commercial airliners have limited lifespans, even the huge Airbus A340. Ultimately, they must be retired from service, stored in "airplane boneyards" or graveyards, and finally dismantled and scrapped.

Jetliners eventually reach end-of-life due to airframe wear and/or obsolescence. Some jetliners are temporarily taken off flying status, and must be stored in a environment that is conducive to preservation. Others are kept for spare parts for flying aircraft.

To protect airliners during their storage from wind and sun damage, engines and windows are tightly covered with white, reflective materials. A sealed airliner can thus be stored safely, for years, until the time comes to return it to active duty, or salvage. Eventually, all airliners are removed permanently from service and must be "disposed" of.

In the past year, we have spotted a variety of Boeing and Airbus aircraft in various boneyards in the western U.S., including:

Also available is information on airliner boneyards in Europe, the UK, Australia, Russia and other locations around the world.

... and view photos of commercial airliner boneyards at www.AirplaneBoneyards.com

Airbus A340-300 of Aerolineas Argentinas, registration LV-BIT, in desert storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Arizona, USA (Staff Photo)
View similar photos at AirplaneBoneyards.com
Airbus A-340 in desert storage at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport