Airbus launched the A340 into service in 1993. Ten years later, the -500 variant was launched followed by the -600 in the summer of 2002.
Airlines Set to Retire Their A340s
This week, Virgin Atlantic became the latest airline to announce it plans to retire its fleet of A340-600s. The British carrier, which was a launch customer for the aircraft, will offload the aircraft by 2020, replacing them with A350-1000s.
Global Operators in 2019
Credit: Global Operators in 2019
The Fleet Will More Than Half in 10 Years
Aviation Week data also forecasts the global A340 fleet halving in size 10 years from now. By 2028, it estimates 70 of the aircraft will be service by then, with only six being the -200 and -300 variants.
Western Europe Will Remain the A340 Hotspot
Western Europe will remain home to most number of in-service A340 aircraft. Aviation Week estimates that 50 aircraft will be in-service by 2028 on the continent, comfortably eclipsing second place Africa (9).
A Popular Teardown Option
Given the volume of A340s exiting airline service, the aircraft have become a useful teardown option for companies with possessing the capability. Two years ago, AerFin tore down the remaining three Cathay Pacific operated A340s, with some parts going into its spares pool while others went back to the Hong Kong-based airline. Asde from airframe components, demand has also centered on the aircraft's CFM56-5C engines.