The Airbus A340-600 is an extended and more autonomous version of the Airbus A340. Its development was one of the manufacturer’s main strategic projects in the 90s to face its American competitor Boeing and its aging B747 airplane.
The A340-600 is Airbus’ biggest before the arrival of the A380. It is a four-engine aircraft capable of carrying 380 passengers over 13,900 km and it remains the largest commercial aircraft before the launch of the Boeing B747-8.
The A340-600 is the longest commercial airplane in the world at 75.30 meters long, which is surpassed by only a few cargo planes and by a margin of a couple centimeters. This characteristic gives it a different look than other aircraft. Its very long cabin can accommodate 380 passengers in a configuration of 3 classes, however it passed security tests to accommodate up to 475 passengers.
The A340-600 was Airbus’ largest aircraft before the launch of the A380 program. The construction of a four-engine aircraft capable of carrying more than 350 passengers, to compete with the B747, was regularly considered by the Airbus engineering offices during work on A300-B11 and TA11 projects. The technical constraints linked to the use of the A300 design, the refusal of engine manufacturers to offer engines in the 25,000-kg thrust category, as well as restrictions on development costs delayed the implementation of this version.
The A340-600 was the longest aircraft in the world until the arrival of the Boeing 747-8 (76.4 meters). At 75.3 meters in length, this aircraft is equipped with two cameras for the pilots (one on the tail and one on the front landing gear) to ensure safety during taxiing. Like the A340-300 and the A340-213X, it has an additional landing gear between the two main landing gears.