German flag carrier Lufthansa today welcomed the Airbus A340-600 back to its fleet. Five of the aircraft will gradually return to service, providing additional capacity for the airline over the coming months. The airline’s entire A340-600 fleet was sent to storage at the start of the pandemic.
Like most quad-jets, the Airbus A340 is a dying breed. However, while Lufthansa was quick to scrap the Airbus A380, it has become one of the few airlines that continues to operate the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A340, with the A340-300 flying throughout most of the pandemic.
Return of the Airbus A340-600
Today Lufthansa operated its first revenue-generating flight with the Airbus A340-600 since sending the entire fleet to storage almost two years ago. Flight LH 418 from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) departed for Washington (IAD) at 12:25 PM. Following a slight delay, the aircraft took to the skies at 12:56.
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft is due to arrive in Washington at 15:35 local time, though it is currently expected to land at around 15:37 as of the time of writing. The flight was operated by a 14-year-old aircraft registered as D-AIHT.
The first of five to return
D-AIHT is one of five Airbus A340-600 aircraft due to return to the Lufthansa and operated today’s flight to Washington. According to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft last flew passengers from Cape Town to Munich on March 22nd, 2020, meaning it has been out of action for almost two years exactly.
The aircraft departing Frankfurt for Washington this afternoon. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying
The plane remained in Munich until May 19th, 2020, when the airline ferried it out to Teruel, an aircraft storage facility in Spain. D-AIHT didn’t fly again until November 29th, 2021, when it was ferried to Luqa in Malta, where Lufthansa Technik had a maintenance base. The jet then positioned to Frankfurt on January 19th before undertaking a two-hour test flight to nowhere on Wednesday.
According to data from ch-aviaion.com, the aircraft first flew on April 3rd, 2008, and was delivered to Lufthansa on April 29th. The jet has completed around 52,500 flight hours since new, across roughly 5,700 flight cycles. The portal lists the jet’s current value as $6.16 million. The plane has 213 economy seats, 32 premium economy seats, 44 business class seats, and eight first class seats.
What about the other four?
Commenting on the return of the Airbus A340-600 in late November, a Lufthansa spokesperson remarked,
“Five of the A346s will be reactivated for the summer flight schedule for Munich. Since the five cannot be reactivated all at the same time, the first ones will be available earlier. According to current planning, these will be deployed successively from Frankfurt, starting in January. For the summer flight plan, all five will operate from Munich.”
Lufthansa sent its entire A340-600 fleet to desert storage in summer 2020. Most won’t return. Photo: Getty Images
The January plan was missed, though the aircraft type is now flying again. But what about the four other jets still destined to return. Here’s a summary of them,
- D-AIHI – Location: Luqa, Malta (MLA) – Last flight: Feb 28th, 2022
- D-AIHP – Location: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) – Last flight: May 20th, 2020
- D-AIHU – Location: Teruel, Spain (TEV) – Last flight: May 26th, 2020
- D-AIHV – Location: Munich, Germany (MUC) – Last flight: February 25th, 2022
When did you last fly on a Lufthansa Airbus A340-600? Let us know in the comments!
Singapore Airlines to Fly 5 Boeing 777 Freighters For DHL
About The Author