Airbus ends A340 era, selling last two aircraft, defaulted by Kingfisher Airlines

European airframer Airbus S.A.S. announced the sale of the last two A340-500 aircraft in its inventory, marking an end of the longest range model of its portfolio.

AJW Capital Partners Limited, a worldwide aviation services group based in the UK, has signed a firm contract for the purchase of two Airbus A340-500s aircraft. With this order AJW Capital becomes the newest Airbus aircraft customer. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines the aircraft features a comfortable two-class cabin for maximum passenger appeal. Commercial service will begin with an existing AJW Group customer early 2013.

Vijay_Arora_Kingfisher_Airbus_A340-500_Ranbir_KapoorThe two aircraft MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 886 and MSN 894 were the last two of the five A340-500’s ordered by Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines, who defaulted on taking delivery of the entire order. The A340s with their ultra-luxurious cabin product were meant to be the flagships of the fleet with these two airframes originally allocated registration numbers VT-VJA and VT-VJB. Three aircraft from the order were sold by Airbus to Nigerian carrier Arik Air.

The four engined A340 series in general, and the A340-500 in particular was the least profitable aircraft for Airbus. With the rising costs of fuel, the ultra-long-haul (ULH) flights, the 282 seat A340-500, was designed for, no longer were viable. Airbus has been buying back A340s from airlines to help sales of the more efficient twin-engined sister, the A330, one of the most profitable aircraft for Airbus.

The two A340-500s appear to be destined to AZAL Azerbaijan Airlines with two Embraer 170s of another failed Indian airline, Paramount Airways. Swiss industry news website, ch-aviation, reports

AZAL has also acquired two ex-Paramount Airways (India) EMB-170s (c/n 17000002 and c/n 17000005) from Embraer subsidiary ECC Leasing that will already join the fleet in spring of next year. In other news, AZAL plans to add two A340-500s (c/n 886 and c/n 894) to its fleet for long-haul services that were originally ordered by Kingfisher Airlines, and then never delivered.

We opine that Azal will put these aircraft on a Baku-New York route.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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