The Airbus A340 is one of my favorite aircraft to fly on, especially for long-haul flights. It’s a widebody, “single-story” plane with four engines. As such, it’s much quieter than say, the Boeing 777, in my experience. But Airbus has stopped producing the aircraft in 2011, and carriers that are still holding onto them are starting to retire the aircraft.
One of these carriers is Cathay Pacific. While the A340 is configured for long-haul flights, with fully flat beds and direct aisle access, Cathay Pacific has demoted the A340 to flying just regional routes for a while now.
The A340 features an older generation Business Class product, in a herringbone configuration. Many have referred to this seat as the “claustrophobic” or “coffin-style” seat, due to the fact that the feet point toward the aisle (the head near the walls).
The A340-300 joined the fleet over 20 years ago, and the product is getting pretty dated. In fact, Cathay Pacific has actually begun the retirement process back in 2015. They are sending the retiring aircraft to AerFin, a UK-based company that will decommission, dismantle, and recycle the planes.
But it appears Cathay Pacific has finally set a date for the full retirement of the A340 from their fleet. According to The Journey, the Cathay Pacific magazine for staff and “friends of Cathay Pacific,” the A340 will no longer be flying as of April 10, 2017. This is quite a bit earlier than the previously stated goal, which is the end of 2017. This A340 retirement comes just a few months after the retirement of “Queen of the Skies” Boeing 747, which saw quite a bit of fanfare.
Of course, Cathay Pacific is taking delivery of more modern aircraft, such as the twin-engine Airbus A350. The new aircraft is also opening new route opportunities for Cathay Pacific, which recently started flying Hong Kong-Tel Aviv, and will operate the A350 on their Hong Kong-London Gatwick route.