As the A330neo fleet grows in 2019, TAP Air Portugal will finally retire its four A340-300 quad engines. According to media rumors, the last two jets will stop flying at the end of October while the others have recently been taken out of service.
It is the end of a long career that began in 1994 when Airbus jets replaced the L-1011 TriStar trijets as their main long-range aircraft. On this occasion, the successor is another Airbus, the A330-900neo, advanced variant of the twin-engine whose first operator is TAP.
TAP currently has 14 A330-900neo units in its fleet and is expected to end the year with 19 aircraft, which allowed the A340 to be taken out of service. With outdated passenger cabin and prohibitive fuel consumption, the old jet should be scrapped in the coming months.
The A340s were being used on long-haul flights to destinations in Brazil and Africa – before that they also flew to US airports.
With the change, TAP will have a twin-engine fleet only for the first time in its history. The Portuguese airline operated models such as the Boeing 707 and even the 747, of which it had four -200 units in the 1970s. But the quad-engines aircraft operated for a short time: one of them flew less than six months with TAP livery and another, just over 10 months. In 1984, the remaining jet models were taken out of service.
The successor at the time was the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, a trijet with smaller passenger capacity and better suited to the company’s routes that used 10 units of the aircraft. The last one went out of service in 1997, leaving the A340 as the fleet’s only multi-engine jet.