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File: Airbus A340

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Airbus A340The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner.

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Developed by Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is now fully owned by EADS, the A340 was assembled at Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched -600 series. Depending on the model, it has a range of between 6,700 to 9,000 nautical miles (12,400 to 17,000 km). It is similar in design to the twin-engined A330 with which it was concurrently designed. Its distinguishing features are four high-bypass turbofan engines and three-bogie main landing gear.

Airbus manufactured the A340 in four fuselage lengths. The initial variant, A340-300, which entered service in 1993, measured 59.39 metres (194.8 ft). The shorter -200 was developed next, and the A340-600 was a 15.91 metres (52.2 ft) stretch of the -200. The -600 was developed alongside the shorter A340-500, which would become the longest-ranged commercial airliner until the arrival of the Boeing 777-200LR. The two initial models were powered by the CFM56-5C, rated at 151 kilonewtons (34,000 lbf), while Rolls-Royce held exclusive powerplant rights to the extended-ranged and heavier -500 and -600 models, through the 267-kilonewton (60,000 lbf) Rolls-Royce Trent 500. Initial A340 versions share the fuselage and wing of the A330 while the -500/-600 models are longer and have larger wings.

Launch customers Lufthansa and Air France placed the A340 into service in March 1993. As of September 2011, 379 orders had been placed (not including private operators), of which 375 were delivered. The most common type were the A340-300 model, with 218 aircraft delivered. Lufthansa is the biggest operator of the A340, having acquired 59 aircraft. The A340 is used on long-haul, trans-oceanic routes due to its immunity from ETOPS; however, with reliability in engines improving, airlines are progressively phasing out the type in favour of more economical twinjets such as the Boeing 777.

Airbus announced on November 10, 2011, that the A340 program had been terminated due to lack of new orders.

Airbus delivered the first A340, a -200, to Lufthansa on 2 February 1993. The 228-seat A340-200, named, Nürnberg, entered service on 15 March. The A340s were intended to replace aging DC-10s on the airline's Frankfurt–New York services. Meanwhile, Air France took its first A340-300 on 26 February, the first of nine it planned to operate by the end of the year. The A340 replaced the Boeing 747s on Paris–Washington D.C., flying four times weekly. Coincidentally, the first Air France A340 was the 1000th Airbus to leave the Toulouse facility since the consortium's beginning.

During the Paris Air Show, on 16 June 1993, an A340-200, named The World Ranger took off for a round-the-world demonstration and publicity-stunt flight. The aircraft, carrying 22 persons, had been modified for the flight, including the addition of five center tanks. Taking off at 11:58 local time, The World Ranger made only one stop en route in Auckland, arriving back in Paris 48 hours and 22 minutes later, at 12:20. The flight broke six world records at the time. Among the six was the longest non-stop flight by an airliner, when the aircraft flew 19,277 kilometres (10,409 nmi) from Paris, arriving in Auckland in record time, keeping the record until 2005.

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