13 Years Of Service: The Story Of Etihad’s Airbus A340 Fleet

Being based in the Middle East, Etihad Airways is well-positioned to serve a variety of long-haul destinations. To do so demands a capable long-haul fleet, and Etihad has served its intercontinental network with various widebody aircraft families over the years. One of these has been the Airbus A340, of which Etihad has flown 12 examples in total.

Etihad Airbus A340 Getty
Etihad has operated three different variants of the Airbus A340. Photo: Getty Images

A single A340-300

According to data from ATDB.aero, 12 A340 family aircraft have graced Etohad’s fleet over the years. While these have come from three different variants of the European single-decker quadjet, there isn’t the most even split. Indeed, as far as the A340-300 was concerned, Etihad flew just one example. Registered as A6-EYC, it joined in January 2004.

This aircraft was less than nine years old at the time, having been built in August 1995. However, that isn’t to say that it had had a quiet service life in terms of the number of operators it had flown for. Having initially served Singapore Airlines from October 1996 to January 2002, it briefly fell into Boeing’s hands before joining Khalifa Airways and Air Algérie.

A6-EYC flew for Etihad until January 2009, after which its service life became even more eventful. To list just a handful of operators to date, it has since flown for the likes of Air Australia, Air Greenland, the Australian Air Force, Conviasa, and HiFly. Now owned by SpringJet, it is presently in storage in Teruel, Spain. At 26 years old, its future is uncertain.

HiFly Airbus A340
Etihad’s only A340-300 went on to fly for HiFly in an all-black livery. Photo: sabakusuriname via Flickr

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A rare A340-500 operator

While the A340-500 proved to be a rarer variant of Airbus’s single-decker quadjet, Etihad was able to count itself among the type’s operators. Indeed, starting in June 2006, it ultimately operated four examples of the type. These all came to the carrier in a six-month spell that ended in December that year with the arrival of the fourth A340-500, A6-EHD.

Unlike Etihad’s second-hand A340-300, it received all four of these aircraft brand new. They served the airline for between nine and 11 years, before moving on to pastures new. Three joined European Aviation, but they have remained unused and stored in Teruel. The other example left in 2015 for the Italian Air Force, but is now in storage in Rome.

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One of Etihad’s A340-600s was written off before it could be delivered. Photo: Getty Images

Etihad and the A340-600

As for the Airbus A340-600, this was Etihad’s most common variant, with the carrier flying seven examples. It should actually have received eight, but, as Simple Flying recently explored, one of these had to be written off after an accident during pre-delivery testing.

Etihad received its remaining seven A340-600s brand new between June 2007 and September 2009. It used A6-EHJ, to promote the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a striking special livery. However, between April and October 2017, they all left the UAE flag carrier.

Like thre of Etihad’s A340-500s, its seven A340-600s joined European Aviation after departing. Presently, four are in storage, while three remain active. These are the youngest to have served Etihad, and they now fly for the likes of Air Plus Ultra and Surinam Airways.

What did you make of Etihad’s A340 fleet back when it flew the type? Did you ever travel on one of these quadjets? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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