Qatar Airways Announces A340-600 Retirement!

On March 6th, 2019, Qatar Airways attended at ITB Berlin where they announced the new economy class seats with a 4K display attached to them, which has received much attention for Qatar Airways enhancing the seats to be more comfortable and advanced than their predecessors. But another news was brought up and that is the retirement of the Airbus A340-600, which they currently have 4 of in their fleet and been in service since 2006. The aircraft is slated for last commercial flights on March 31st, 2019 from their Hub in Doha to Colombo, Sri Lanka and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the route to Colombo will be replaced by the Airbus A330 and to Kuala Lumpur with the Boeing 77-300ER. A final farewell flight is to take place May 1st, 2019, will be flown to Bangkok, Thailand.

The Airbus A340-600 a four-engine aircraft, much like the currently operating Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 747-400/8i, it is an old aircraft, far less fuel efficient than the newer twin-jet airplanes Airbus A330neo, Airbus A350-900/1000 and Boeing 787-8/-9/-10. In recent weeks, we’ve heard the news of Airbus seizing manufacturing of the Super Jumbo A380-800 as Emirates, their largest customer of the aircraft has transferred orders to the A350 and the Australian Airline, Qantas cancelling 10 A380 orders. To add on, British Airways has announced plans to replace their Boeing 747-400 aircraft between 2021-2025 with the Airbus A350 and the new Boeing 777X.

With very few airlines today still operating the A340 series of aircraft (A340-300/-600) and many of those airlines planning to replace the old fleet of four-engine aircraft with more modern, fuel efficient and profitable aircraft, the era of multi-engine airplane is about to end.


The Airbus 340-600 is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful aircraft out there. It was the one aircraft I always wanted to fly, but never got the chance to. I still remember me, 5 years old, in Doha, boarding my plane, a 777-300ER, but seeing as I walked past the four-engine beauty standing at the gate beside my flight.

Will I ever get the chance to fly on? Only time will tell…!


Discussion Questions:

  • What are your thoughts about the retirement of the A340-600
  • Is the era of four-engine aircraft coming to an end very soon?
  • Have you ever flown or will fly the A340 (before it’s retirement completely)?


Note:

  • Azerbaijan Airlines is the only airline to still operate the Airbus A340-500 variant on commercial routes!
  • Lufthansa is the airline to operate most amount of A340-300/-600’s as of today with plans to retire -600 soon!
  • Scandinavian Airlines is said to replace their again fleet of A340-300’s with A350 in the coming years!
  • There is currently 238, A340’s in service with 42 to be retired soon, from airlines such as: AF, QR, LH and VA!
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Unfortunate to hear. The A340 is such a special aircraft, but it is indeed past its prime. Too bad the last flight is so far from me!

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What a shame that the A340 will be retired. But it makes sense due to high fuel costs. I can say that I am lucky living in Switzerland and having two swiss airlines (SWISS & Edelweiss) still operating them.

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I flew on a SAA a340 once, and I can’t remember where it was to. In my opinion it’s hideous, but I’m glad I got the experience to fly on one.

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Well they’re just no longer efficient enough for airlines to keep operating. Next generation aircraft such as the 777X,A350,and 787 are the far better option.

But I will miss the bathrooms of the Lufthansa A340,that’s for sure!

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@HiFlyer - Yea, its time to shine has passed. And for those who flew it will be a memory to keep. And the flights are far from me too…


@Chris_Wing - Lucky you. Swiss and Edelweiss still operate a good number of A340-300’s :)


@A_Plane_Guy - The experience may be different depending on airline but the economy seats must’ve been cramped and tight to be in, considering the configuration options being limited for older planes than newer ones. I flew Etihad A330 once with quite cramped seating config back in 2005.


That is true. As people are talking about the end of B747 and A380’s, we need to remember that a340 is leaving us too one day :(

I strongly believe they are better than the ones on BAW… ugh memories of BAW lavatory sacres me 😖

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I love the plane a lot, only the -600 variant though. It’s so majestic and I think it looks better than the B747 in my opinion. Very extreme view to many im sure :)

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Sad… i flew QA to Sri Lanka and morr recently Air Mauritius to South Africa. Good old planes, among the last where a couple can book economy seats without having to worry about the person they will travel with (in the third seat…). The 600 is truely beautiful!

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I can actually agree with you on that point. The A340-600 has been a plane I always wanted to fly, and ever since first spotting it at the Gate in Doha, I was hoping that it would be my flight to Dhaka only that back then I didn’t know that flights to DAC are operated by 777-300ER and not A346 :(

Though, just looking at it, something about the design, the one floor, multi-engine aircraft looked so as you putted it, Majestic. I really hope to fly the -600 someday, with any airline really, before operations seize for good :)

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Don’t forget Iberia A340-600 fleet, they have 17 units, mainly used for flights to South America :)

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You live in Sweden? Yes. Do you have the change to fly it? No you say. But you can! SAS has this airplane still in use and it flies from Stockholm and Copenhagen to at least SAN Fransisco! You do have the chance, so go do it! :)

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SAS operates the A340-300 out of Copenhagen to San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita), Hong Kong, Chicago and Miami. So I would have to change flights in CPH if I want to fly with the A340 whether that be -300 or the -600 variant.

Additionally, I have no plans of flying anywhere that I know is operated by the A340 through any airline. So my childhood dream of flying the A340 may not happen. We’ll see, only time will tell if I’ll ever fly on one :)

Also SAS does not operate A343 out of Stockholm, (although one A343 flew out of ARN to LAX on Feb 8th) so I’d have to fly to Copenhagen and then change to it, which something I’ve considered doing for a long time now, so it may happen or may not happen ;)

It’s difficult to tell now, but I hope to fly on one within the next 3-5 years :)

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SAS is (sadly(because we lose this plane)) expecting A350 delivery’s so you have to fly it soon, otherwise I guess it is retired before you have the chance to fly it

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I flew on an Air Tahiti Nui a340 F-OLOV which was the first the a340-300 fleet to be retired. Last flight it made was from LAX-TEV for storage a few days ago.

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