News & Events

A340-600 Route Proving 2002

Family portrait of the A340-600

20 April 2002

On the final segments of a highly successful world route proving tour, the A340-600 crossed the Asia/Pacific region this weekend and returned to Europe.


On the Singapore-Manila flight, Captain Hensel, the Lufthansa A340 fleet Training Manager, explained he is particularly enthusiastic about the commonality between the A340-600 and the airline's A340-300s. "The same type rating for both aircraft means we can train pilots through a simple ground-based course. This has great benefits for Lufthansa, as we can introduce a new aircraft with new capabilities while incurring absolutely minimal training costs."

Frankfurt to Singapore in just over 12 hours

19 April 2002


The pilots flying the A340-600 are delighted. "The A340-300 and -600 are very similar in response to pilot inputs and the cockpits are practically identical," said Captain Tegtmeyer, Technical Pilot, Lufthansa A340 fleet. "The A340-300 was already an excellent aircraft from a pilot's point of view," said Captain Hensel, Training Manager, Lufthansa A340 fleet, "and the A340-600 continues the Airbus tradition of building aircraft that are a pleasure to fly."

The A340-600 zips back across the Atlantic.

18 April 2002

The A340-600 zipped back across the Atlantic from San Francisco, arriving some 45 minutes early at Frankfurt, thus beating the fog that slowed down operations not long thereafter. It made another beautiful touchdown, illustrating the ease with which A340-300 pilots are flying the larger model.


Observers at San Francisco had previously commented on the exceptionally low noise during taxi out and takeoff of the aircraft. And during the flight, the A340-600's high centre ceiling in the First Class cabin was, once again, a source of great admiration.

Air Canada personnel greet the A340-600

17 April 2002


The A340-600 arrived in Montreal, home base of future operator Air Canada, and taxied straight to the airline's own facilities where the aircraft and its crew were met by a delegation led by Air Canada President and CEO Robert Milton.

From Montreal, the A340-600 flew first to Vancouver and then, after a quick stopover, returned to San Francisco.

Servicing the A340-600 in San Francisco

16 April 2002

The flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco highlighted the A340-600's smooth cruising qualities. The aircraft took off from Frankfurt at 344 tonnes, performed a brisk climb to flight level 340, gradually reaching level 410, and flew the entire sector at Mach 0.84. Passengers, including press, airline and Airbus technical staff, as well as a group of Lufthansa frequent flyers, described the plane as extremely stable, notably at the back of the plane. The A340-600 has now left San Francisco for Montreal, where guests from launch customer Air Canada are expected.

The A340-600 and Concorde at New York's JFK International Airport

15 April 2002

FLIGHT: Frankfurt > San Francisco

The A340-600 left Frankfurt this morning at 9.30 am for the first leg of its second week of route proving. Following a very successful first week, the aircraft now manned by a Lufthansa crew, is flying toward San Francisco which it is expected to reach in some 11 hours.  It will then fly to several Lufthansa destinations such as Montreal and Vancouver in Canada. Lufthansa, which has ordered 10 A340-600s, will receive its first aircraft of the type in mid-2003.

The A340-600 arrives in the United States

12 April 2002

FLIGHT: Hong Kong > Los Angeles > New York

The A340-600 arrived in Los Angeles an hour in advance on its schedule after a peaceful and uneventful 13 hour flight from Hong Kong across the Pacific, including flying the approach to the US at 623 knots (1150 km/h) ground speed. The aircraft was greeted enthusiastically by the airport ground staff. It left again a few hours later to go to New York-JFK, manned by a crew from Virgin Atlantic Airways, the first customer to take delivery of the plane.

The A340-600 departs from Hong Kong.

11 April 2002

The A340-600 has left Hong Kong and is now on its way to Los Angeles for its first  transpacific crossing. As the aircraft cruises at an altitude of 32,500 feet/9,900 metres through the night, the new cabin is drawing praise for its remarkable quietness in all classes as passengers settle down to sleep.


Most appreciated features so far on these route proving flights have been the high ceilings – particularly noticeable in first class, where side-mounted bins are used for overhead stowage. The spacious economy class has also earned high marks.

"Thumbs up" for the A340-600 in Taipei

10 April 2002

Today's route proving programme involved two short legs on some of Asia's busiest trunk routes, as the A340-600 left Narita this morning for Taipei arriving at lunch time and leaving again in afternoon for a flight back to Hong Kong. The aircraft remains on static display in Hong Kong for the rest of the day before departing tomorrow morning for its first trans-pacific flight. It has covered more than 17,000 km/9,200 nm so far.

A warm welcome in Shanghai for the A340-600

9 April 2002

Following an overnight flight from London-Heathrow to Hong Kong, the A340-600  performed a quick turn around in Hong Kong and flew onwards to Shanghai where it arrived toward  midday. The aircraft and its crew were greeted by a welcome delegation from China Eastern Airlines, a future operator with five A340-600s on firm order.<br><br>The aircraft then left for Tokyo-Narita where it landed in the evening for an overnight stop, the first real break in nearly 30 hours of continuous activity.

The A340-600 taking off from London Heathrow

8 April 2002

Local time of departure: 12.30

Weather at departure airport: good

The A340-600 taking off from London Heathrow today at 12.30 local time on the first leg of its route proving flights.

The aircraft, which will fly direct to Hong Kong, is carrying 115 passengers, including specialists from Airbus and from major suppliers in all areas concerned: flight tests and certification authorities pilots and engineers, programme, design office, marketing and customer services.