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Aircraft Asset Assessment

December 11, 2017

Market Presence. The A340-500 offered much when proposed but the mistake lay in maintaining a flawed philosophy. The four engines seemingly provided reliability and safety but it was already evident that two engines would also provide efficiency and safety. The A340-500 may have been the cheaper option to develop but in the long run, it was the more expensive. The aircraft seemed to fulfil a much needed role in the market, providing an alternative to the B747 as well as allowing existing A340-300 operators an upgrade path. The use of four engines also alleviated any concern over ETOPs which places additional burdens on the operator, pilot and aircraft. The versatility of the aircraft is therefore a considerable advantage. However, the problems with not effecting a mature product on service entry, the failure to appreciate the significant economy of twin engines, a smaller fuselage diameter to the B777, the continual need to increase the MTOW of the aircraft to compensate for a higher empty weight, the reluctance of operators to match brochure capacity have all combined to make for difficult market conditions for the type. The B777-200LR has also proved to be a formidable competitor not only in terms of offering twin engined economics but also in meeting original design requirements and being a mature product on service entry. The OEMs of Airbus and Rolls-Royce have over the last few years sought to reduce operating and maintenance costs and this is showing some reward in terms of slowing the decline in values. The aircraft can be placed though it takes a special kind of second tier operator to make it possible and patience is required. The support of the OEMs is vital in this regard. The original owners of the A340-500 are the most exposed to the fall in values though they will have achieved a sizeable discount when placing the original orders.

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