The World’s Most Unique Plane? Meet The Airbus A340-8000

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In 1998, a very unique Airbus A340 was to be delivered to the government of Brunei. It was, in fact, the one and only Airbus “A340-8000”. This special variant was to go to the brother of the Sultan of Brunei. What made the A340-8000 so unique and where is it now? Let’s find out.

The A340 eventually found a home in Saudi Arabia. Photo: John Taggart via Wikimedia Commons

What is the A340-8000 all about?

According to FlightGlobal, Airbus developed the Airbus A340-8000 as an ultra-long-range aircraft for the Brunei Royal Family. A derivative of the A340-200, the aircraft was to be an addition to the monarch’s growing VIP fleet of private jets.

What allowed the aircraft to have its unique designation was the fact that it was fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks. The extra fuel capacity gave it a range of more than 14,800km (8,000nm). This would enable the Sultan and his family to fly non-stop from Brunei to the USA or Europe. The -8000 also featured the 275t MTOW (maximum take-off weight) of the A340-300 and could seat 239 passengers. Fit for a royal family, the A340 was, of course, supposed to be configured with a luxury interior.

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We would assume that the 8,000 nautical mile range of the aircraft is where the aircraft gets its special designation, -8000.

The A340-8000 was based on the A340-200. Photo: Getty Images

What happened to it?

The aircraft, with MSN 204, was officially “delivered” in November 1998. However, it apparently never entered service and was in fact parked, unfitted, at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airfield for several months, under the management of Lufthansa Technik. The VIP interior was not fitted even a year after the aircraft was built. That fact alone fueled speculation that it had been put up for sale.

At some point after 1999, the aircraft moved over to Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, and there it remained until around 2007, having been in storage for a total of nine long years.

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Then, in 2007, news broke that the aircraft had been acquired by the Saudi Arabian Government. According to Airfleets, the aircraft was delivered to its new owner on March 1st of 2007. It stayed with the Saudi government for three years until moving over to “Saudi Royal Flight” – which is the fleet belonging to the Saudi Royal family.

According to AIMS Airline Software,

“The prestigious Saudi Royal Fleet is the dedicated airline for the Saudi Royal Family and Saudi Private Aviation is a top-tier international luxury flight services provider for elite clientele across the globe.”

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A Boeing 747-400 was part of the Brunei Royal fleet. Photo: Bjorn Strey via Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

It is in the ranks of the Saudi Royal Fleet that the A340-8000 remains to this day, along with several Boeing 747s, a Boeing 757, and an Airbus A318.

It’s uncertain how much longer the aircraft will remain in the private service of the Saudi Royal Family. However, it is unlikely we will ever see the aircraft in regular commercial passenger service before its retirement.

Did you know about the Airbus A340-8000? Let us know in the comments.

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Rishaban

What an amazing plane !!!
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Doods

I had seen this aircraft parked at Riyadh airport (Royal terminal) along with B757 for a quite long time. I believe it has been replaced with a B787 and other smaller one like B737.

Paul Harper

Please, I beg you, stop it! You are killing my language. You cannot have “very unique”, “most unique” or even “so unique”.

Something is either unique or not. Anything in the middle is merely rare.

John Franklin

Please note that the word unique CANNOT be modified. Meaning unique does not need very or most or any modifiers. Uniques is,well, unique.

Stephan Wilkinson

There is no such thing as “very unique” or “most unique.” Something is either unique or it isn’t. It’s like saying somebody is “deader” than someone else.

Miriam Webstah

A very unique aircraft, indeed. An aircraft with a 8,0000nm range is extremely essential for a royal family, built from a design that is nearly immortal.

Gordoncy

Change it to the world’s most customized plane or something. There is no such thing as a most unique plane.

Mark

Really unique aircraft. Take the gist and information chaps, save us the english lesson. Thanks Chris Loh, a good read for sure.

SIGEI JOSEPH

Wish to see it’s interior.

Martin

Paul Harper: a man after my own heart! The misuse of mothers word “unique” also drives me bonkers! how can something be “very unique”? When I started work, my boss was ex ww2 Royal Artillery. He used exact verbiage. When he answered the phone, he did so with one word: “Glover”. That is the exact information, the caller needed, he never wasted time with other c**p. I have remembered such useful behaviour all my life. After all he knew that if someone called him, it was to ask for ten tonnes of lead on a particular place. So get on with the necessary!

no english

best most very unique-est plane ever!

Joe Leo

Thank you for the article and Thank you for the English very, amazing and extraordinary unique English class! This A340 is parked in King Khaled Airport and sometimes in King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah ! This in the royal parking! There’s also an Airbus 340-600 parked, this from Alpha Star!

HereWeGo

You need a little help here as grammar school teachers seem to be freaking out:
Quite unique: one of a kind, but a lot of similar stuff around
Very unique: one of a kind, not much similar stuff around
Most unique: one of a kind, nothing similar around
Makes sense, is shorter, everyone knows what it means – and a culture that is fine with calling Aluminium ‘Aluminum’ and using nicknames for everyone because they are too lazy or unable to pronounce the name right (which i consider very offensive) should be fine with that, too

OMAR ALYAMI

The aircraft is well taken care of. It is flying for the royal fleet. The royal fleet is a very well established organized airline serviced and run by SAUDIA AIRLINES.

Fahad fenner

The A340 is one the finest aircrafts

Sean

I like it James, I like it!!! Too many exclamation marks?

Frank

Oh yes, it’s deja-vu ALL OVER AGAIN.!!!

an other ” very unique ” saying 😫😪😲

LOL.

Joe

This is very interesting! Thank you for sharing, Chris.

Mark

Please respect and slow your return to a series of grunts varying in length, tone, and volume

Pragya Biswas

Yeah, i have known about the airbus family for a long time. Although I have known about A340, what made me feel weird about it was that although it is a four engine airliner, it has just a single deck. Now my doubts are cleared having read this article.

Michael Geldart

Misspelling of words e.g Tornados Tomatos Potatos no E!!! Sopranos no E . People think that’s because a word ends TO it has to spell the same TOE!!!

Zoltan Buday

The to be honest I was not aware of the 340-8000s existence till this article. My curiosity has been twigt. Perhaps more information on this aircraft will be forthcoming.

Gary

What is unique is the amount of complaining regarding the wording of articles on this FREE app.

Jonathan

737 Max is the most unique plane ever built. Not this one.

Ghazi Mahmoud

Airbus A340,in my opinion, was the best aircraft I had flown over many business trips I traveled in the last 20 years. Of course I never flow in A340-8000 but still, the A340-200 was good enough example. I wondered why this aircraft is not commonly in use with different airlines around the world.

Peter Jackson

Don’t the minor sheiks use this as a flying brothel… Chance to join their mile high club with some haram c******e

Bob T

Wait…are we referring to a European unique or an African unique? Just trying to determine if it could be gripped by the husk…

EffemAll

Nope to those who do not know English syntax. No such thing as VERY UNIQUE.

Paul Nightingale

Just so you know. The definition of unique is “one of a kind”. Therefore it is either unique or it is not. It cannot be “very unique”!

Gigimama

What’s so unique about it?

John Anthony

HI Chris, thank you for a most interesting article. Keep up the good work!

For what it’s worth, I suggest you completely ignore the comments of the grammar queens who are trying to get their five minutes of anonymous fame via the internet

Abdul Saboor Shaikh

Send me the details of 340 800

Jerry

I saw it years ago. Was able to look it over. Very “unique” . It was alright. Would do in a pinch if nothing else is available.

Haider Alvi

How much is the total.capacity in all economy configuration. What is the average stage length of this airplane.

Brian

Can a 340-200 only fly 200 mm. That’s almost unique!

Kraig F Galazyn

I still miss the l1011 TriStar..it had a full size bar in the mid-cabin of the cabin..wow what a workhorse it was…

Kraig F Galazyn

Very uniq. Means…one of kind in set-up… I be never been so to fly a uq. One of a kind twice.. so enjoy that day… It’s never the same again..like taking one of the old seaplanes to Catalina..Landon’s that tight cabin in rough waves…what a rush..got me layed Everytime..Cho’s.

Kraig F Galazyn

Hey when they speed test at the engines for the 77 triple 7 when they first made it that’s like you know you pour concrete down that you poured so much ice down at you speed up the aging a bite of 20 years off in a few months when they took it apart had very little wear with a set of engines

Kumbala

Mr. Harper, “you” had killed many languages, cultures and people during a few centuries till now. So, if one survivor among those troubled lives kills “your” language, you may kindly accept it gracefully.

Abdul odud

Very very nice

Gaetan

Any idea why it didn’t enter service until 2007?

Dr. Michael A. Blau, D.C.

Paul Harper and Erick you are both hilarious! You’re like two adult children having a tantrum amongst yourselves. In fact your little pissing match over proper English context is actually more entertaining than the article itself!
Oh and FYI Paul Harper…. Eric is right in his rebuttal, and you sir are just blowing smoke out your a*s!
You should make sure you know what you’re talking about Mr. Harper before you start spouting off things you obvious do not know as much about as you think you do.

Jaime López

I feel a UNIQUE idiot reading the comments about the word and not the airplane. 😱 people are unique. 😁

Bob

What isn’t touched upon, why does the Plane have the range to go to the United States or Europe? What allowed the aircraft to have its unique designation was the fact that it was fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks. The extra fuel capacity gave it a range of more than 14,800km (8,000nm). This would enable the Sultan and his family to fly non-stop from Brunei to the USA or Europe. In case of coup or political unrest and they have to flee the country. Something to have in the back pocket.