Aircraft of the week:

Aircraft 2-BHXG hasn’t had a very long history, but is a good example of the typical lifespan and operator history of an Airbus A340. Delivered to Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific in February 1998 after being assembled in Toulouse, France, under the registration number B-HXG (it is an Airbus A340-300), it was amongst Cathay Pacific’s fleet of 25 Airbus A340s (4 A340-200s, 18 A340-300s and 3 A340-600s) until it was withdrawn from service in February 2017. It was stored at Tarbes Lourdes Airport in the French region of Occitanie until its transfer to British company AerFin, where its registration number changed to 2-BHXG. AerFin specializes in aircraft end of life services and leases them on short-term leases to airlines around the world. They also repair old aircraft so that they can be used for a bit longer. 2-BHXG was then sent to British air charter group European Aviation in February 2019, which operates a fleet of 13 Airbus A340s and 2 Boeing 737-300s. It was scrapped later on in the year. If you compare this aircraft to many of the previous “Aircraft of the week”, you’ll notice that this one’s lifespan is pretty short and that it hasn’t had many operators. This is typical of long-haul aircraft. Boeing 737s tend to operate to around 26 years old and turboprops for even longer and will be operated by around 6 different airlines. It is clear to see that long-haul aircraft have a smaller lifespan (around 20 years) than short-haul aircraft, which is largely due to difficulties to maintain them and the toll on the aircraft from flying long-distances, which will ware out the engines. But long-haul aircraft are often retired earlier than short and medium-haul ones because their operators always want the best aircraft possible. Long-haul aircraft tend to be the main image of big airlines, and if they’re not the latest models, it gives their operators a bad impression. But they don’t need to worry, as they wouldn’t be operating an A340 if they didn’t have money and they will surely be taken into account for obtaining the latest models… first, depending on their bank account. A total of 380 Airbus A340s were produced (that’s not a lot) and 105 remain in service. Production spanned from 1991 to 2011. Most A340s are powered by 4 CFM56s, but the later -500 and -600 models are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500s. The biggest operator is Lufthansa, with 27 aircraft. 1st of November 2020.

Afficher l’image source
Cathay Pacific Airbus A340-300 B-HLL.

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