Airbus has achieved certification for the latest version of the long range A340-600, the 380 tonne variant from The European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA). The new aircraft brings extended range, greater passenger capacity and overall substantially enhanced productivity for airlines. This concludes a successful four month test campaign following the aircraft’s first flight in November 2005.

Qatar Airways is the first customer to take delivery of this new higher gross weight A340-600 with first deliveries due to begin in summer 2006, followed by deliveries to Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Etihad Airways.

Benefiting from A380 technology, reduced maintenance costs, and the latest development of Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines, the new 380 tonne A340-600, with typical seating of 380 passengers in three-class comfort, provides up to 18% higher compared to earlier variants and travels 250 nm (463 km) further, up to 7,900 nm (14,600 km).

"Airbus is delighted to receive certification of this new version of our A340-600" said Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert. "The certification brings it closer to operation. This new A340-600 will allow our customers to fly further while maintaining the highest degree of passenger comfort and improved operating costs," Mr Humbert continued.

The new variants of the A340 Family benefit from the existing well-known superior comfort standards of the A340 with attributes such as a wide, quiet cabin with superior air quality that allows airlines to offer a distinctive product for each of their market requirements. A cabin that can be configured to ensure that no passenger is ever more than a seat away from an aisle or window.

Customer interest in the new A340s further reinforces the success of the A330/A340/A350 Family as the preferred choice of airlines worldwide in the medium to long-range segment. Currently more than 1060 A330/A340/A350 Family aircraft have been ordered by 72 customers around the world, of which more than 140 Airbus A340-500/-600 have been sold to 14 customers.

Certification of the new variant of the ultra long-range A340-500 is due to take place in the beginning of 2007.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.