A penchant for the A340-300
According to ch-aviation, 13 of the 15 A340s Air Canada operated were of the -300 variant of the type. Of these, all but one arrived at the airline between the mid to late 1990s. C-FTNQ was the first A340-300 to join Air Canada, the carrier taking delivery on June 15. 1995. Meanwhile, C-GDVZ was the last to arrive from the 1990s (June 28, 1999).
The last A340-300 to join Air Canada (C-FDRO) arrived second-hand for lease from ILFC in June 2005. After a little over two years with the carrier, his lease ended and he joined Aerolineas Argentinas before being dismantled Goodyear, Arizona in 2014.
But what happened to the A340-300s that joined Air Canada in the 1990s? For the most part, these aircraft served the airline for a little longer than the final arrival of 2005. They left the fleet between January 2002 and December 2013. Airlines they flew after Air Canada included AirAsia X , Air Jamaica, BWIA West Indies Airways, Iberia and SWISS.
While the -300 variant dominated Air Canada’s A340 fleet, it also briefly flew a pair of larger A340-500s. These carried the registrations C-GKOM and C-GKOL and arrived at the Canadian national carrier in June and July 2004 respectively. The airline configured the cabins of these planes with 42 business class seats and an economy class section of 225 seats.
Despite their brand new arrival at the airline, their time with Air Canada only lasted just over three years. In October 2007, the pair of A340-500s left Air Canada 18 days apart. They continued to fly for the Brazilian flag bearer TAM. C-GKOL was scrapped in Rio de Janeiro in 2015, while C-GKOM is stored in Teruel under the name D-AAAL.
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A340-600 order lost
In addition to the 15 A340s of two variants that flew for Air Canada, there was a time when the airline was ready to receive the long-body A340-600. Shortly after Airbus revealed its intention to develop this variant at the 1997 Paris Air Show, Air Canada placed an order with considerable enthusiasm. He ordered eight A330s and A340s at that time.
However, a combination of factors ultimately led the Canadian national carrier to cancel this order. First, the industry downturn following the September 11, 2001 attacks created a difficult financial climate, prompting Air Canada to postpone the order until 2004.
During this period, changes in fleet strategy caused the airline to postpone the order a second time, pushing it back to 2010. It ultimately canceled the order entirely, which now seems like a good decision. After all, the comparatively inefficient A340 has fallen out of favor with modern jets like the Boeing 787, of which Air Canada operates 37.
Have you ever flown on one of Air Canada’s Airbus A340s? If so, where did it take you and how did you like the airplane? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!