The Airbus A340 entered service in June 1995 with the arrival of Fins 981 & 982 leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). Deliveries direct from Airbus began in November 1996. They had been ordered to replace the B747-400 and L1011 fleets on international destinations.
I refer to them as the “Forgotten Fleet’ because they arrived with great anticipation but left with almost no interest and do not seem to be missed.
Although a sleek and comfortable aircraft on long range routes; it was underpowered with the 4 CFM56-5C4 engines adding considerable flying time to those routes and were gradually replaced by the faster and more fuel efficient twin engine A330 and B777.
I can account for 15 aircraft that flew in AC livery between 1995 and 2008. There were thirteen -300 series and two -500 series. Orders were placed for the -600 series but deliveries were deferred twice and finally cancelled. Five of the originals still show active including Fin# 908 which appears to be in VIP service for the Iranian government. Click here to view my list of the current aircraft status.
I will write about my own personal connection to this fleet in our next issue.