May Hold Out For Enhanced Plane... At Expense Of Current
Emirate Airlines asks a question, just about anybody in aviation
manufacturing wants to have the right answer. Such is undoubtedly
the case in Toulouse, France right now, as Airbus mulls over the
future of its slow-selling A340.
As Aero-News reported last
week, Airbus is reconsidering the future of the A340
because it's just not selling well against the Boeing 777.
Airbus sold just 15 A340s last year... while Boeing racked up
more than 150 777 sales. Better fuel economy afforded by the
twin-engine 777 is seen as the biggest factor in the sales
In light of last year's dismal A340 sales, Airbus is reportedly
considering scrapping the four-engined widebody... but another
possibility is yet another version of the airliner, called the
A340-Enhanced -- which would reportedly feature the new, more
fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines originally intended for the
Emirates is the launch customer for the A340-600, termed the
High Gross Weight (HGW) version, which is supposed to begin
deliveries later this year. Now, however, the airline is asking
Airbus to clarify its plans for the A340 before it takes delivery
of any -600s.
"Our order for 20 A340-600s still stands. (But) We are waiting
for (information on) the enhanced version," Emirates President Tim
Airbus isn't saying much about the whole situation. When asked,
company PR-types simply decline comment -- as does Airbus's usually
loquacious sales guru, John Leahy.
If Emirates defers on its -600 deliveries, Airbus would have to
find other carriers to take those planes. One possible customer
would be rival Qatar Airways, which has also ordered the
Unless, of course, that carrier starts to look at the