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The Last Gaucho: Aerolíneas Argentinas Retires Airbus A340 Fleet
On the early morning hours on Monday, Aerolíneas Argentinas’ last Airbus A340-300, registration LV-FPU of Aerolineas Argentinas, had completed its last commercial flight for the company, which means the decommissioning of the aircraft type from the carrier’s active fleet. The gap will be initially covered by expanding the current Airbus A330 fleet.
The Airbus A340 was incorporated into the company in June 1999, covering its international destinations, although they were also used to fly some domestic destinations and to neighboring countries.
The A340 is a long-range, subsonic civil transport aircraft powered by four engines. It has four CFM56-5C4 engines, providing 34,000 pounds of thrust each, and with the deprogramming of the fleet, the four-engine operation era in Aerolineas Argentinas’ operation comes to an end. It will also represent the end of four-engined aircraft with Argentinian registration.
The A340 appeared in the international area of Aerolineas Argentinas along with other aircraft: A310, 747-200, and 747-400 aircraft, until one day the company made the decision to decommission these aircraft and keep only the A340, and starting to prepare to add the newer, smaller twinjet Airbus A330.
The fleet unification to an all-Airbus line allowed the carrier to optimize the performance of both flight and cabin crews. The common type certification helped to pave the way.
In the case of the pilots, different ratings were required, but with short-term transition courses, allowing cost savings for the company.
The emblematic transpolar route was operated by the Airbus A340, replacing the Jumbo 200 that required a technical stopover in Río Gallegos.
The A340 could fly to Auckland nonstop. When the company axed the New Zealand route, the A340 covered Buenos Aires to Sydney without stops, on a flight that lasted a little more than 16 hours.
According to recent announcements made by the company, the A340 would be replaced by at least four additional A330, to be incorporated within this year to tackle the capacity lost by the retirement.
The airline’s final A340, LV-FPU, aircraft landed in Buenos Aires, serving the regular AR1133 flight from Madrid, the Airbus A340 cycle at Aerolineas Argentinas comes to an end.
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