Taiwanese carrier China Airlines has officially retired its A340-300 aircraft from service, with its last A340 departing Taipei Taoyuan Airport for the US earlier this month for mothballing.
China Airlines first took delivery of the four-engine aircraft in 2001, and configured the aircraft in a two-class set up with 30 business class seats (2-2-2) and 246 economy class seats (2-4-2). The A340 was typically deployed on the airline’s long-haul routes to Europe, North America and Australia, and was the aircraft used to open a number of notable routes for the airline, such as Taipei to Houston via Seattle, as well as to Brisbane, Vienna and London.
That said, the A340 is not the most fuel-efficient of aircraft and many airlines have since begun retiring the aircraft from their fleets (Cathay Pacific fully retired its own A340s earlier this year).
Developer Airbus has positioned the A350-900 as the successor to the aircraft, and China Airlines expects the A350 to form the backbone of its long-range fleet, along with the B777-300ER. China Airlines took delivery of its first A350 in September last year.
And having been within the airline’s fleet for some 16 years, the retirement of the A340 also helps China Airlines significantly reduce the overall age of its fleet.