Aerolineas Argentinas Moves Closer To A340 Retirement

Aerolineas Argentinas is coming that much closer to retiring its entire A340 fleet. The airline completed the final revenue flight of one of its two remaining aircraft on 9th December. That leaves just one final A340 aircraft in the Aerolineas Argentinas fleet.

Aerolineas Argentinas will soon retire its entire A340 fleet. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

A farewell to the second-last A340-300

Whilst Airbus’ A340 production stopped eight years ago in 2011, Aerolineas Argentinas was still operating the aircraft for some time. In fact, it still has one operational A340 in its fleet registered LV-FPU, according to Air Fleets.

However, it doesn’t look as though that aircraft will be operating much longer. Aerolineas Argentinas has been steadily retiring its fleet for several years now and has all 12 of its former aircraft in storage, returned to the lessor or in scrappage. The most recent of these aircraft was LV-FPV, an Airbus A340-300.

It was the second to last of nine -300 variants to enter the Aerolineas Argentinas fleet in October 2013. But this month it was returned to its lessor. On Monday 9th December 2019, flight AR1133 operated by LV-FPV arrived at Ezeiza International Airport in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires. It was 3.38 am and this was its final commercial operation. It was subsequently repaired and had its livery removed before flying to its lessor on 26th December 2019.

Aerolineas Argentinas Moves Closer To A340 Retirement
Just one A340 remains in Aerolineas Argentinas’ fleet. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Wikimedia Commons

Why retirement?

The Aerolineas Argentinas A340 fleet is expected to completely cease in early 2020. All the aircraft in the former 13-strong fleet have an average age of around 22.5 years so it’s about time they were updated. And that’s exactly what Aerolineas Argentinas is thinking.

In October 2018, it laid out a new strategic plan to distinguish a competitive edge against industry opponents. It unveiled 66 projects to revolutionize the airline and the way it operates. At the time, a key focus for the air carrier was to improve aircraft efficiency. In a press release, it said:

“The strategy is based on four pillars: sustainability, network development, service excellence, and adherence to processes and transparence, under an umbrella of safety as the core value of the operation.”

Retiring the A340 aircraft would fit into that plan. The retirement of the fleet would make way for newer aircraft and allow existing aircraft to take over A340 routes. Altogether, Aerolineas Argentinas has a fleet of 44 Boeing 737 aircraft in -700, -800, and -MAX 8 variants.

The final aircraft

Additionally, the final unit of the A340 fleet is expected to retire in 2020. It’s registered as LV-FPU and arrived at the airline on 23rd December 2013 just over two months after LV-FPV. If that’s anything to go by, we might see Aerolineas Argentinas retire by February next year and return to its lessor BBAM Aircraft Leasing. The airline has not confirmed the date for the final retirement.

A340-300 Aerolineas Argentinas in snow
The end of the Aerolineas Argentinas era will come early 2020. Photo: Matias 18 via Wikimedia Commons

Aerolineas Argentinas is thought to be looking at the A350 or the Boeing 787 as a replacement, according to Flight Global. Although, that has not yet been confirmed. However, it’s taken so long for the airline to commit to retiring its A340 fleet that it might be a while before a new aircraft to replace it is announced.

Are you sad to see the A340 leave Aerolineas Argentinas fleet? Let us know in the comments below!