TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Taipei-based China Airlines’ last Airbus A340-300 took off for the last time on Wednesday, heading for its retirement in a U.S. desert.
China Airlines introduced its A340 fleet in 2001, operating as many as seven such planes at one time.
The airline initially used the four-engine aircraft to fly its longest flights to destinations in Europe, North America and Australia.
The airline gradually decommissioned four A340 planes this year, and the last one numbered B-18806 took off from Taoyuan Airport on Wednesday and headed for its retirement in the U.S. China Airlines crews at the airport waved goodbye to the departing plane.
The A340 was once hailed as one of the most perfect four-engine airplanes in early 21 century, notable for its reliability and quietness, according to the airline.
With two-engine aircraft being capable of flying long over-ocean routes today due to technological advances, airlines around the world have been bidding farewell to their four-engine aircraft, such as the Boeing 747 and A340.
China Airlines said that after the retirement of the A340 fleet, the long-haul flights will mainly be operated by the high-capacity Boeing 777-300ER and the medium-capacity A350-900, with short and medium-haul flights being flown by A330-300 and B737-800.