Twenty years after its maiden flight, Airbus has completed production for the A340 jetliner, reflecting changing market dynamics. While new aircraft are no longer to be built, Airbus will continue to fully support the current global fleet of A340s – which are providing reliable ultra long-haul flight services with customers around the world – as long as they are in operation. Four versions of the A340 were produced by Airbus: the A340-200, A340-300, A340-500 and A340-600. Providing extended operating ranges of up to 9,000 nautical miles, this product line allows operators to eliminate unproductive stops, open new routes and match service standards to targeted market needs on very long-haul segments.
News in brief
Completion of production marks new chapter in the A340 success story
Deliveries continue for the new-generation A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)
Airbus Military has formally handed over the third A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which is to receive a total of five of these advanced air-to-air tanker aircraft. Designated the KC-30A in RAAF service, Australia’s newest A330 MRTT was converted from an Airbus A330 jetliner airframe by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane. The country’s no. 4 A330 MRTT will be delivered in December, with handover of the fifth aircraft scheduled for next year.
Tail section for Thai Airways International’s first A380 rolls out of paint shop
The vertical tail section for the first Thai Airways International (THAI) A380 has been painted with the airline’s orchid logo at Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany. The painting was completed over the weekend, and the section is now being prepared for shipment to Toulouse, France – where assembly of the aircraft is set to begin later this month. THAI will become the ninth A380 operator when it takes delivery of its first jetliner in the third quarter of 2012.
The Airbus Military A400M performs water ingestion tests
Airbus Military has successfully completed testing to demonstrate the new-generation A400M airlifter’s ability to operate on wet runways and taxiways without ingesting water into the engines. During these tests at Istres, France, the aircraft travelled through troughs containing 2-6 cm of water at speeds of up to 90kt in take-off and landing configurations, including operations with reverse thrust.
The Royal Saudi Air Force begins flight training on the A330 MRTT
Royal Saudi Air Force crews have started flight training on their first A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) with Airbus Military instructors in Spain, which will allow them to qualify for air logistic transport and air-to-air refueling with pods and boom. Handover of the first A330 MRTT to the Royal Saudi Air Force will take place mid-November 2011, with additional deliveries scheduled during 2012.
Celebrating four years of “love at first flight”
Four years ago today, Airbus’ 21st century flagship A380 entered commercial revenue service in the fleet of Singapore Airlines. Since that time, the double-deck aircraft has been winning over business and leisure passengers alike – leading many travelers to specifically request flights on the A380, which currently is operated by seven airlines to 26 destinations worldwide and has flown more than 16 million passengers to date.
Assembly begins for the A350 XWB "MSN1" horizontal tailplane
Airbus has started the assembly of the first A350 XWB’s horizontal tailplane (HTP) in Getafe, Spain. Joining of the two lateral boxes will produce the 17-metre span primary structure of the HTP. Structural assembly will continue over the coming weeks, followed by installation of the unit’s electric and hydraulic systems. Once the assembly and equipping work is finished, the HTP will be flown by Airbus’ Beluga transport aircraft to the final assembly line in Toulouse, France.
Malaysia Airlines’ first A380 takes off from Toulouse for its maiden flight
The first A380 for Malaysia Airlines took off for its maiden flight yesterday following completion of final assembly and system tests in Toulouse, France. After a successful five-hour flight, the aircraft returned to Toulouse to be prepared for its next journey to the Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany for cabin installation and painting. Powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, the aircraft is the first of six A380s ordered by Malaysia Airlines, scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2012. Malaysia Airlines will be the 8th airline to operate the A380.
The A350 XWB’s Trent engine rolls out for initial flight tests
Airbus has completed installation of the first Rolls-Royce Trent XWB flight test engine on the A380 “flying-testbed” aircraft. The aircraft and engine will now be prepared for the flight test campaign commencing in the coming weeks. The Trent XWB engine, which is the largest Rolls-Royce turbofan with a 118-inch diameter fan, has been specially designed to power all members of the new Airbus A350 XWB Family with maximum efficiency.
Airbus-supported high school competition selects best “green” ideas for the aviation sector
Six Singaporean students have earned a trip to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France after winning first prizes in the island nation’s annual “CREATE” high school competition – which promotes career paths in the engineering field. Supported by Airbus and Singapore Airlines, this year’s challenge focussed on the theme “Green Technology in Aviation.” The winning entry for the junior category (ages 13-16) involved the on-board use of live algae to reduce fuel consumption and improve cabin environments; while the senior category (17-18) winners proposed the installation of wind turbines at airports to capture energy generated by aircraft during takeoff.