The Airbus A340 aircraft project was launched in parallel with the Airbus A330 in June 1987. There two distinct families within the four-engined A340 product range - the original 260-295-seat A340-200/300 and 310-380-seat A340-500/600.
The Airbus A340-300 was the first plane to enter service in March 1993 with Air France. Lufthansa put the smaller and longer-range Airbus A330-200 into service later the same month. Soon it became evident that A330-200 had too small capacity for four-engined aircraft and it did not become popular. The A340-200 production was stopped with only 28 units produced.
Launched in December 1997, the A340-500/600 models feature a 20% larger wing and the more powerful engines. The larger version Airbus A340-600 entered service with Virgin Atlantic Airways in August 2002, with the smaller, ultra-long-range Airbus A340-500 following with Emirates in late 2003. The A340-500 has became the longest-range aircraft ever built by Aurbus. The A340-600 is known as the longest commercial aircraft in the world (fuselage length is 75.3 m).
The production of A340-500/600 ceased in 2011. A total of 377 aircraft were delivered: 28 A340-200, 218 A340-300, 34 A340-500 and 97 A340-600.