A330/A340 - Aircraft Profiles - Aviation Resource Center Navigation Bar

A330/A340 General Overview


The largest in the Airbus Industrie aircraft family, the medium-haul twin-engined A330, the most efficient jetliner ever designed, and the ultra-range four-engined A340 were launched as a single programme, based on the same basic airframe in June 1987.

Together, the A330 and the A340 have won some 260 orders from more than 35 customers. With a 45 per cent share of all sales in the 300-350 seat market (1996), compared with 30 per cent and 25 per cent shares for the competing products, the A330/A340 are the world leaders in this fastgrowing category of civil airliners. Their very high residual value adds to their appeal.

The A340, which became the first brand-new long haul airliner to enter service in more than 20 years, first began flying with the world's airlines early in 1993. Typically seating 295 passengers in three classes, the A340-300 has a range up to 7.200 nm/13.800 km.

With the longest range of any airliner in the world, the four-engine A340 is the most economical design for long distance flights - while also retaining efficiency on shorter sectors. The A340 has kept its promises on range and economy, and is now flying several ultra-long non-stop flights - including from Europe to South Africa and Asia, and from Middle East directly to North America.

The first aircraft to receive joint FAA/JAA certification, the A330 has the same airframe and transports 335 passengers in the two-class layout typical of medium-haul routes. Range with these passengers is up to 4.850 nm/8.900 km. Inservice since early 1994, the A330 can be used for short-haul high-traffic routes as well as transatlantic extended range twin-engine operations (ETOPS). Like the A340, the A330 offers unrivalled economy for the missions it has been designed to fly. Two airlines, Cathay Pacific and Aer Lingus, are using the A340 and A330 profitable by flying lower-deck cargo on non-passenger flights.

A330 and A340 customers can offer their passengers the very latest in passenger entertainment and communications. For example, Virgin Atlantic Airways alredy offers video games and gambling via credit card, in addition to a choice of programmes on its A340s, and many other options such as in-seat ordering are possible. Air Mauritius and Gulf Air A340s feature multiple telephone calls via satellite, and were the first airliners delivered with satellite navigation capability.

The first airliners to be created with 100 per cent computer-aided design, the A330 and A340 are also the first to be produced using robots in fainal assembly for increased production efficiency and quality.

For airlines flying a mix of A330s and A340s, or one of them and a member of the A319/A320/A321 family, important savings in training and a greater variety of routes is avaliable through cross crew qualification (CCQ). In essence, a pilot qualified an one of the aircraft can convert to another with very little extra training, because of similar cockpits and handling qualities. CCQ has already been approved by regulatory authorities in the USA, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria and France and a number of airlines have chosen to take advantage of this possibility.

Airbus Industrie offers the four-engined A340 with versions of the CFM International CFM56-5C, while the twin-engined A330 is available with General Electric CF6-80E1s, Pratt & Whitney PW4000s or Rolls-Royce Trent 700s.

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