The Versatile widebody FamilyAirbus Industrie's A330/A340 Family of aircraft has established market leadership in the 239-380 seat category. The family offers operators a choice of two or four engines on the same aircraft fuselage, allowing them to optimize their aircraft choice for particular missions.
Featuring passenger comforts such as the quietest cabin in the sky, the A340 is available in four basic versions. The A340-200 series, typically carrying 239 passengers in three classes on flights of up to 14,800km/8,000nm and the A340-300, which carries 295 passengers up to 13,500km/7,300nm, are currently in operation with dozens of airlines around the world. Two additional versions of the aircraft, the A340-500 and A340-600, which were launched in December 1997 and have already won substantial numbers of firm commitments, will enter service in 2002.
While the A340 enables airlines to develop more non-stop ultra-long haul services, the twin-engine A330 combines the some of lowest operating costs of any aircraft ever designed with maximum flexibility for a wide range of route structures. Covering everything from regional and medium range services to longer international services, the A330 offers the same high level of in-flight comfort as the A340 and is available in two versions.
The first A330 version to enter service was the A330-300, in early 1994. This aircraft, which typically seats 335 passengers in two classes or 295 passengers in three classes, is designed for flights of up to 5,500 nm/10,200 km. The A330-300 was joined in 1998 by the A330-200, the first delivery of which took place to Canada 3000 in May 1998. The A330-200 offers long range capability of up to 6,400 nm/11,850 km and typical seating capacity for 253 passengers in three classes.
The tremendous operating efficiency of the A330/A340 Family is enhanced by the underfloor holds with room for up to 60 per cent more freight than a Boeing 747, providing additional opportunities for generating cargo revenue. The unrivalled operating economics offered by the A330/A340 Family mean that the aircraft can even operate profitably without a single passenger on board, as has been demonstrated by some airlines which have flown regional overnight freight-only services with the A330, after a full day's passenger service.
Airbus Industrie offers the four-engine A340-200 and A340-300 with versions of the CFM International CFM56-5C, while the A340-500/600 will be powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 500 series. The twin-engine A330 is available with General Electric CF6-80E1s, Pratt & Whitney PW4000s or Rolls-Royce Trent 700s.
The A330/A340 Family features spacious six-across seating in First and Business Class which offers every passenger a window or aisle seat, while Economy Class passengers are generally seated in a comfortable eight-abreast configuration with no passenger more than one seat away from an aisle. Amenities offered aboard the aircraft include state-of- the-art in-flight entertainment systems and satellite-based telephones for passengers.
In addition, Airbus Industrie has also developed a number of innovative options for the spacious lower deck hold. One concept involves installing sleeper cabins in the underfloor area, with typical layouts featuring full length beds for up to 10 passengers. Another option is for a separate washroom area in the lower deck, below the Economy class cabin, with up to five lavatories. This arrangement frees Economy class space for up to ten additional seats, while also enhancing passenger cabin appeal. The A340 was also the first aircraft to feature an underfloor sleeping area for cabin crews.
The full flight operational commonality between the various versions of the A330/A340 Family brings significant advantages to carriers operating more than one type. Thanks to Airbus Industrie's unique fly-by-wire controls, pilots can transition from one type to another with very brief cross-crew qualification (CCQ) training and carriers also have the possibility of implementing "mixed-fleet-flying" (MFF), where a single pool of pilots can fly more than one type of aircraft. This feature also extends to the single aisle A318/A319/A320/A321 Family, bringing even greater benefits to carriers operating mixed fleets of fly-by-wire Airbus Industrie aircraft. Meanwhile common spares holdings and similar maintenance procedures for the various types bring further cost savings.
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