Airbus A340-200 and A340-300 Wide-Bodied Four-Engine Airliners, Europe

The Airbus A340 family of wide-bodied four engine airliners is optimised for long range to ultra long range performance and is in service with dozens of airlines worldwide for non-stop long-haul services. The aircraft entered service in 1993 with Air France and Lufthansa. The A340-200 typically carries 239 passengers on flights of up to 14,800km. The A340-300 carries 295 passengers up to 13,500km. The first A340-300E enhanced version, with an upgraded engine, new liquid crystal (LCD) cockpit displays and a more spacious cabin interior design, was delivered in March 2004 to launch customer South African Airways, which has six in its fleet.

Airbus has received orders for 244 A340-200/300 and has delivered 239 aircraft. Recent orders include three A340-300E for Air Mauritius, ordered in June 2005.

Two additional variants are the A340-600, which entered service in August 2002, and the A340-500, which entered service in November 2003. Combined orders are for over 140 aircraft. The A340-500 seats 313 passengers and has a range up to 15,750km and the A340-600 carries 380 passengers and has a range of 13,900km.

An A340-300 is being used by Airbus as a testbed for the AWIATOR technology programme to evaluate new ways of measuring and influencing aerodynamics and noise.


The advanced flight deck incorporates an optimised layout of liquid crystal displays so that each crew member can easily assimilate all relevant data. The size of the screens, 6.25in x 6.25in, makes eye-scanning unnecessary. The Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) provides the flight information and consists of a Primary Flight Display and a Navigation Display for each pilot.

There are three multipurpose control and display units giving access to the aircraft's flight management system. The units can provide systems maintenance data in the air and on the ground. The Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM) provides an engine/warning display on the upper screen and the aircraft systems display on the lower screen.

Essential data is rearranged by an automatic display reconfiguration in the event of any display unit failure and also the flight deck has an integrated stand-by instrumentation system.

The flight deck incorporates a multi-purpose printer, a ground proximity warning system (GPWS), an aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS), a global positioning system (GPS), satellite communications, traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), a forward air navigator system (FANS A) and optionally a microwave landing system (MLS).

Thales Avionics has developed a digital head-up display which is planned for certification on the A340 in 2005. The HUD uses liquid crystal displays.


The aircraft's fly-by-wire flight control system provides substantial operational benefits including reduced pilot workload, improved overall performance through reduced pilot control inputs, improved smoothness and stability and improved fuel economy through the optimised deflection of control surfaces and reduced drag.

The fly-by-wire system incorporates multiple redundancy and a high degree of integrity. There are three primary and two secondary main computers, each one comprising two units with different software. The primary and secondary computers have different hardware and different architectures. The power supply sources and the signalling lanes are segregated. Mechanical signalling is retained for rudder movement and for the horizontal stabiliser trim and the aircraft can, if necessary, be flown on mechanical systems only.


The structure of the aircraft is mainly of high strength aluminium alloy with some structures of carbon fibre and glass fibre reinforced plastics. The use of advanced composite materials results in reduced weight and thus fuel burn and includes the fin and rudder, horizontal tailplane, wing trailing edge moving surfaces, the wing/fuselage fairing and the cabin floor panels.

EADS France (formerly Aerospatiale Matra) manufacture the flight deck, the centre fuselage section and the engine pylons. BAE Systems with its USA subcontractor Textron Aerostructures are responsible for the manufacture of the wings. Most of the aircraft fuselage and the interior are built by EADS Germany. EADS Spain and Belairbus build the other major structures including the tailplane and leading edge slats. The completed sections of the aircraft are transported to EADS Toulouse facility for final assembly, fitting and test.


The A340 has a four unit landing gear arrangement, with two sets of landing gear under the wings and two centreline landing gears, with the nose wheel unit and one on the centre line half way along the fuselage. The nose wheel unit has twin wheels but the other three units each have four wheels.


The A340-200 and -300 aircraft are equipped with four CFM56-5C4 engines developing an engine thrust of 151kN. CFM International is jointly owned by General Electric of USA and Snecma Moteurs of France.

CFM has developed an upgraded engine, CFM56-5C/P, which powers the A340-300E Enhanced Aircraft, which was delivered in March 2004. The engine has a new high-pressure turbine blade and uses 3-D aero technology in the high-pressure compressor.

The maximum fuel capacity is 155,040 litres giving a range of 14,800km with a typical passenger load.


The A340 cabins can be configured in several layouts including a three class long range layout. The modularity of the interior units and systems allow easy overnight cabin reconfiguration. Galleys can be placed to give a service dedicated to each cabin. Six air temperature sensor locations provide efficient temperature control along the cabin.

Boeing team to develop post-737 jet

Only a couple weeks after rolling out the 5,000th 737, Boeing formally named an initial planning team to lead development of a replacement for the Renton-built jet. On Boeing's internal Web site Tuesday, the company announced that Mike Cave, vice president for airplane programs, will direct the work.

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