Four-engined aircraft are starting to go out of style. The A340, widely retired around the world, however, does remain in passenger operation. Launched in the 1990s, the aircraft was designed for long-range operations. And, at one point, it even flew the longest nonstop commercial flight in the world. But, with numbers of the type in service declining, here are the oldest A340s in operation.
The oldest Airbus A340s
The oldest operating A340, according to Planespotters, is flying for Iran Aseman Airlines. This 28-year-old A340-300 formerly served as a testbed for Airbus before Virgin Atlantic took over the aircraft. Currently, the aircraft is registered as EP-APA.
Another 28-year old A340-200 flies for Saudi Royal Flight. This is a division of Saudia and flies the royal family. This aircraft is HZ-124.
Sky Prime, a Saudi Arabian private charter airline, flies a 27-year-old A340-200 registered as HZ-SKY1.
Next up is EP-MMA. This Mahan Air A340-300 has been around for 27 years. First flying for Lufthansa, Mahan Air took over the aircraft in 2013.
A7-HHK is another 27-year-old A340-200. This one, similar to the Saudi Royal flight A340, flies for Qatar Amiri Flight. In the same livery as Qatar Airways, this specially configured aircraft is operating for the government of Qatar.
Venezuela’s Conviasa flies an A340-200. At 27 years old, this aircraft has also had a long history. The plane, currently registered as YV1004, has flown for Air France, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Europa, and more. Since 2007, the aircraft has remained at Conviasa.
What about the oldest -500s and -600s?
The oldest A340-600s are currently at Mahan Air. EP-MME and EP-MMF are both 19 years old. EP-MMG, EP-MMH, and EP-MMI are all 18 years old. All of these aircraft first flew for Virgin Atlantic Airways at the start of their passenger services.
Two additional older A340-600s fly for Iberia. EC-INO and EC-IOB are both 17 years old.
As for the A340-500s, Qatar Amiri Flight operates A7-HHH, a 17-year-old A340-500. Many other A340-500s are with lessors.
The Royal Thai Air Force flies HS-TYV, a 15-year-old A340-500.
In terms of passengers, Azerbaijan Airlines, also known as AZAL, flies two A340-500s. One is 4K-AZ85, and another is 4K-AZ86.
An analysis of where they are flying
More and more airlines are doing away with the Airbus A340s. In recent months, both Air France and Lufthansa have indicated they have fallen out of love with the aircraft type. Virgin Atlantic retired the type earlier this year as well.
For Iranian carriers suffering sanctions, there are few options to acquire new aircraft. This leaves older jets like the A340 as one of the few types available for operations. And, lastly, for VIP operators and governments where aircraft fly fewer segments per day, there is not the same kind of incentive to modernize the fleet.
Are you an A340 fan? What is the oldest A340 you have flown on? Let us know in the comments!
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