With the Dubai Airshow, all of our recent order announcements and the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve been too busy to say a proper goodbye to the A340. So let me take the time right now.
The A340 had a long— but not so successful run. After its launch in 1987, Airbus managed to deliver only 375 of the airplanes. The most successful model was the A340-300, while the A340-500 sold less than 40 units.
The “marketing” for the A340 might be more famous than the aircraft. I remember a couple of ad campaigns they did. One in the late 90’s featured their airplane over stormy seas, implying that four engines were safer than two.
An Airbus ad campaign from the late 90’s.
Then, with the introduction of the A340-500 and A340-600 came the infamous “4 Engines 4 Long Haul.” As you can imagine, the ad campaigns didn’t sit well with us or with others in the industry.
An Airbus ad from 2002.
A few years later, Airbus threw in the towel by launching the A350 — a long haul twin of their own. From that point, the end of the A340 was in sight.
The 777 posts a record year.
While the marketing never clicked, the real issue came down to performance. It’s clear the fate of the A340 family was sealed when the 777-300ER and 777-200LR entered the market. The 777’s superior economics and passenger appeal simply couldn’t be matched. The proof was also in the numbers. Not a single A340 has been sold in two years, while the 777 just racked up a record for most orders in a single year. And we intend to keep our foot on the pedal.