As part of a five-year restructuring plan aimed at counter-acting the coronavirus–induced economic downside, Iberia will retire its A340-600 while delaying the acquisition of newer A350 and A320 aircraft. The measure will see the carrier last 14 A340-600s exit the fleet before the end of this year.
The Airbus A340-600 aircraft is notable for being longer than all the other A340 variants and even the A380 double-decker. In facts it was the longest airliner until the advent of the Boeing 747-8 in 2011.
With 97 overall deliveries, the A340-600 was most prominently observed in Lufthansa service (24 aircraft), with Virgin Atlantic (24 aircraft), Iberia (18 aircraft) and a few other operators like South African Airways (9 aircraft), Etihad Airways (8 aircraft), Iran’s Maran Air (7 aircraft), Thai Airways International (6 aircraft), China Eastern Airline (6 airlines) and Qatar Airways (4 aircraft).
The coronavirus is now standing to completely eradicate the type which first began airline service in 2002. Although operators like Thai Airways International and Qatar Airways had already retired their aircraft years before the coronavirus, Lufthansa for instance, which had initially planned to gradually retire its remaining 17 aircraft over several years was compelled to complete the phase out by May 2020. Virgin Atlantic decided to retire its last 3 aircraft in March 2020. South African Airways decision to sell its 4 A340-600 along with 5 A340-300 this past January was mostly guided by the need to make room for its new Airbus A350.