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Italian PM acquires Etihad A340-500

21 Oct 2015 by Alex McWhirter
Etihad Airways has supplied the Italian government with an A340-500 to act as its Air Force One equivalent. The nine-year-old, ultra long-range A340-500 is capable of flying non-stop for 16 hours and much more, depending on weight, accommodation and so on. The Gulf carrier owns 49 per cent of Alitalia, with the remaining 51 per cent held by Italian stakeholders. Initially reported by La Stampa, it remains unclear how much the Italian authorities paid for the aircraft and neither have details of the A340's interior been revealed. It is understood that an Italian air force flight crew has been trained by Etihad and that the A340-500 will initially carry the carrier's UAE registration. Sadly, these fine aircraft are worth little on the second-hand market. Airlines who operate A340-500s are now in the process of retiring them because, even though relatively new in aviation terms, their four engines are today viewed as unfashionable. Now Italian prime minister Mateo Renzi can tour the world in an aircraft more in keeping with his status. Currently, the government's twin-engined A319 does not have the range for long sectors so time-consuming re-fuelling stops are required. The first mission of Italy's Air Force One is on October 22 when the A340-500 will take the prime minister and his entourage on an official trip to Chile, Peru, Colombia and Cuba. Visit flyorbitnews.it for pictures of the A340-500 now carrying the livery of the Italian state. etihad.com Alex McWhirter
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