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Thread: the fate of the A340-500

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    Default the fate of the A340-500

    hi


    I saw this photo (see below) and was immediately thinking, what will happen to all these A340-500s? There are many stored any many more to come....

    Some people were saying that they are candidates for private-jet-conversion, but who would take these? (e.g. under cn 500?)

    do we might only see them again, smaller, in the supermarket, with some soda in it?
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    we might only see them again, smaller, in the supermarket, with some soda in it?
    At least they would be useful again

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    You could call it 345 soda
    I'm the guy... Porter Guy

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    hmm its one of those aircraft that shouldnt ever have been built really. To much of a niche market for a four engine jet. The 777-200LR only gets away because its 2 engined. Other jets that fit the category are:

    A318-100
    B737-600

    fact is the A318 and A345 seem to only have been built for Airbuses pride as both are for markets with far too much of a niche for the airframes ever to be of any use. As for the B737-600, its simply not economical any more and never was particularly in the first place hence the small quantity built.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAMRPICS View Post
    hmm its one of those aircraft that shouldnt ever have been built really. To much of a niche market for a four engine jet. The 777-200LR only gets away because its 2 engined. Other jets that fit the category are:

    A318-100
    B737-600

    fact is the A318 and A345 seem to only have been built for Airbuses pride as both are for markets with far too much of a niche for the airframes ever to be of any use. As for the B737-600, its simply not economical any more and never was particularly in the first place hence the small quantity built.
    One might add to that list the 757-300, 767-400 and 747-800.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays View Post
    One might add to that list the 757-300, 767-400 and 747-800.
    I think you can't add the 747-8 right now, as its quite new to the market, and as LH is very happy with it, there might be a big number (or at least a number) of new orders, especially as of the activation of the tail tank.....
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    B747-800I may not be doing that well but the F's are doing very well was my understanding. Combined i think the cost of development is more than covered. As for the 767-400 and 757-300 i agree they were a waste of time.
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    Senior Member AA 1818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAMRPICS View Post
    fact is the A318 and A345 seem to only have been built for Airbuses pride as both are for markets with far too much of a niche for the airframes ever to be of any use.
    Keep in mind though, that the A345, while being a highly niche aircraft had a few things going for it;
    1) It shared development costs with the A340/A330 program, so as an offshoot, it was not terribly expensive to create.
    2) It was a competitor in a field where there was virtually nothing else that could compete. A 747 could not do the same range (due to its larger capacity), and the 777 would be so restricted that it might not be able to do the same (when it eventually began taking up the competitive role, and the 777-200LR debuted). This aircraft, while designed by short-sighted engineers, was a pivotal aircraft in proving the might of certain key customers, and only really failed due to a recessing global economy. If two of your key customers came to you and said, "build me a few special aircraft, from the blueprints that you are already making a few hundred of, becuase we need these for a glory route,", you might just be inclined to jump to, simply to save them from going to your competitor and asking for something new. It really kept them as customers while you worked on the future (the A350 program).
    3). In other words, just because an aircraft sells poorly, does not mean that it was not successful. Look at the A340 program as a whole, which did well for EADS.
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays View Post
    One might add to that list the 757-300, 767-400 and 747-800.
    I agree that the 767-400 was shortsighted, because most airlines just pushed for the use of the 777, which was newer, and had greater capacity.

    But the 757-300 is a fantastic aircraft, and for some carriers, allowed them to expand capacity, while maintaining a level of fleet commonality, and taking advantage of the 757's amazing fuel efficiency. Was Boeing a little short sighted? Yes, because the 757-300 competed against the 767 line (which could handle cargo better), but for some key airlines, adding 767s (either completely or adding more of them) to their fleet was not a logical move, because the 757-300 was more economical than a 767. Having flown on a few 753s, and seeing how they were used, I am not surprised that they will not be leaving anyone's fleet anytime soon. It was not a new design, so it was not expensive to create (as the 757 line had been in production for decades already), and allowed Boeing to fill in a niche market. It was worth it to them, and to their customers.

    As for the 737-600, well, good job on calling that out. What was the point of that anyway? It was a 717 killer, and look how well that turned out!
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    I think the more general point is that most manufacturers will seek to meet customer needs and try to cover all bases with a wide product portfolio. At times they'll get it a bit wrong, but most if not all these poorly selling variants had their development costs diluted and amortized across the entire range, plus with overall corporate overheads as well. Most if not all were operated by carriers familiar with base model, eg. the 757-300 and 767-400.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that any of these sub-variants has been technically inferior.

    Nothing new under the sun here. L-1649 Starliner anyone ?

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    But the 757-300 is a fantastic aircraft...
    I totally agree with you and both the 757-300 and 767-400 might be aircraft which were not bestsellers for several reasons but these types are very efficient planes. The A318 was - in simple words - a response after other concepts (AE316/317 I think) were slashed and the "A319M5" was presented as an answer to compete against the MD-95 and Boeing 737-600. This was partly influenced after ValuJet was close to order the A319 (not the one with up to 156 seats) but the airline re-opened talks with Boeing, Fokker and McDonnell Douglas for their requirement. McDonnell Douglas was such in desperate need to present a launch-customer for their MD-95 after SAS decided in March 1995 to order up to 70 Boeing 737-600s. The MD-95 was slightly modified again and the ValuJet-order in November 1995 for up to 100 planes was a major boost for the fledgling program.

    The A319M5 resulted in the A318 and media responded with high praises and the obvious advantages for being part of the highly-successful A320-family. History showed that both the A318 and Boeing 737-600 never reached the sales anticipated while their bigger counterparts are huge successes.

    The 717 had better sales but this type was a stand-alone-player and requests by potential customers for a 717-family were answered by Boeing with the need to have more orders for the 717-200 while the potential customers officially said that they would order the 717-200 as soon as a family is available.

    In other words, just because an aircraft sells poorly, does not mean that it was not successful. Look at the A340 program as a whole, which did well for EADS.
    Good point. The quantity is only one factor to claim an aircraft as successful or unsuccessful. I tend to say that the entire A340-program is a success. In several cases an airline decided to order an "no-successful" sub-variant of a family and such planes fitted into their business for many years. There were and there are so many individual aspects for an airline to select one type and just look back into history-books and the individual ways of manufacturers to get an order for their "perfectly suited aircraft". It is logical that every manufacturer claimed that their plane is the best solution. It is highly interesting I think to look back and to research the evaluation of an airline to find their optimal type of aircraft. So the A320 was the best solution for airline A and the Boeing 737-800 the best solution for airline B. Both airlines are probably right.

    Regards

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    the other thing going for the A345 is the operator doesn't need to be Etops rated. as, from talking to the guys in industry, even if the a/c is rated then the operator still has to show they can operate it in that manner and while the industry was waiting for a trans pacific or SA to Euro twin, the A345 fitted the bill.

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    I've not investigated the technical aspects but I wonder if the 340 could be adapted into an air refueling tanker (as was done with the VC-10).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highkeas View Post
    I've not investigated the technical aspects but I wonder if the 340 could be adapted into an air refueling tanker (as was done with the VC-10).
    I would like to see what research would come back with that idea. It surely would get a healthy supply of relatively light used frames, that were meant for quite a longevity of life and in-air times. The tanker idea sounds great. I worried, thought that with so many abandoning their 747-400s, joining many 747-300s on the market - wouldn't heavier aircraft that are perhaps better suited for tanker operations, be already available? In either or, fingers crossed, both ways - that would be a phenomenal exposure to the new realities of this economic and perhaps green thinking climate of ours.
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    I can't see any role for an A340 tanker given that the A330 is already being developed into an excellent tanker platform for several air forces.

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    Well, something has to replace the DC8 freighters that are rapidly dwindling in serviceable numbers. Why not convert the 340-500's ?
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !


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    Quote Originally Posted by AA 1818 View Post
    ............ I worried, thought that with so many abandoning their 747-400s, joining many 747-300s on the market - wouldn't heavier aircraft that are perhaps better suited for tanker operations, be already available? ................
    One major issue with air-to-air refueling is ensuring there is acceptable tubulance in the zone where the receiving aircraft is positioned. Very large aircraft, in geneal, have severe wakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianw999 View Post
    Well, something has to replace the DC8 freighters that are rapidly dwindling in serviceable numbers. Why not convert the 340-500's ?
    What the A340 has very much against it in today's world is four engines. The old Dc-8s are already being replaced by a mixture of the A300/A310/757/767/777, with the MD-11 too to some extent.

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    Is there a shortage in A340 parts? Any likelyhood they get broken up?
    "The real CEO of the 787 project is named Potemkin"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highkeas View Post
    One major issue with air-to-air refueling is ensuring there is acceptable tubulance in the zone where the receiving aircraft is positioned. Very large aircraft, in geneal, have severe wakes.
    And yet the 747 has been converted into a tanker (KC-25) , the tristar and the DC-10 (KC-10) have both been converted as have the A330.

    All of which have similar or greater size and MTOW.

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