Airbus ends production of A340


Airbus is halting production of its long haul A340 aircraft as it loses market share to Boeing’s 777. India’s Kingfisher Airlines is set to cancel orders for two A340 aircraft, leaving only VIP customers for the four engined jet.

Airbus data released this week showed that there were four A340s still to be produced, including two for Kingfisher.

The remaining are for unnamed VIP customers and these will be produced, sources told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Kingfisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We have accepted reality. We have not sold any A340s for nearly two years,” Airbus finance director Hans Peter Ring said during a presentation on the third-quarter results of Airbus parent company EADS yesterday.

The company said that the accounting implications of the “termination of the A340 programme” would result in a “positive one-off” of €192 million (US$260 million) on its earnings before interest and taxes.

The A340 project was launched in 1987 alongside the twin-engine A330, and was a direct competitor to the long-range Boeing 777, with a focus on routes like the 18-hour trip from Singapore to New York.

The A340 first flew in April 1992 and in 1993 it set a record for the longest non-stop flight, between Paris and Auckland, New Zealand.

Boeing’s 777 launched two years later and had the same capacity, but with just two engines it was more fuel efficient.

The decision to scrap the A340 rubs salt in the wound a day after Boeing trumpeted the start of work on its 1,000th 777. Meanwhile, the A330 continues to sell well.

Bloomberg News reported Boeing could meanwhile notch up record 777 sales this year including possible orders in Dubai.