TAP Air Portugal bids farewell to the Airbus A340
There’s now one less airline flying the Airbus A340.
TAP Air Portugal retired its last of the four-engine widebodies earlier this week, marking the occasion with a ceremony for employees in one of its hangars (and with the Portuguese-language farewell video seen below).
The airline recalled how the A340 was state-of-the-art when it came into TAP's fleet in the 1990s, noting in press release how it allowed the carrier to introduce new business-class amenities and individual seatback entertainment.
TAP's retirement of the A340 is part of its fleet renewal plan. Its long-haul services are now operated by Airbus' A330neos and A321LRs.
The Airbus A340, which first began flying commercially in 1993, is now out of production. But TAP’s move also comes as airlines have increasingly turned to new, more-efficient two-engine jets like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner or Airbus’ A350 .
A number of major airlines still fly the A340 — including Iberia, Lufthansa, South African Airways and Virgin Atlantic — but the list is shrinking. Virgin Atlantic was originally planning to retire its A340s this fall but announced last month that they would continue flying into 2020. Most other major operators of the A340 plan to retire theirs sooner than later.
TAP summed up general outlook of the aviation industry succinctly in its statement about its A340 retirement:
"The future is NEO."