AWIN loyalists have access to colleague Jens Flottau's first-cut story on the plan to make A340s more economically viable, notably by boosting capacity on the A340-600. Here are some notes from, and related to, the Airbus announcement.
- Airbus plans to re-jigger the A340-600's certification limit to 475 seats, up from the current theoretical 440. The new proposed layout removes a mid-cabin galley and a forward lav and drops in a total of 35 seats by adding rows of two, four, and eight, and adjusting the number of seats in others.
- A full-scale evacuation demonstration isn't necessary to show compliance with regulations if testing and analysis clearly demonstrate a design's feasibility. Airbus is banking on this to avoid a real-life fire drill.
- Airbus claims commonality between the A340 and A320/A330 saves more than $1 million/year in operating costs per A340 in service. Over five years, airframe spares commonality between the A330 and A340 can save more than $2 million.
- Airbus claims an A340-600 would burn 73,174 kg of fuel carrying 475 passengers on a 4,000nm route, 12% higher than a new (which means more expensive to acquire) 777-300ER, and 21% lower than a 747-400. Airbus puts the ownership cost advantage at $850,000 per month, which is about twice the cost that the 777's fuel advantage would bring at US$3/gallon.