The Airbus A340-300 is a wide-body, four-engine, twin-aisle aircraft, and is stretched by two four-frame fuselage plugs compared to the Airbus A340-200. Its design combines high technology, intitially developed for the Airbus A320, with the vast experience gained from the A300 and A310 aircraft, which is in use worldwide. The A340 incorporates many features already proven to be succesful on earlier models which includes a two-man crew operation, fly-by-wire controlled flight controls, sidestick controllers, FADEC and Centralized Maintenance System (CMS). The aircraft is able to accomodate up to 295 passengers in a typical three-class configuration over a distance of 6.700 nautical miles. The initial version, the -300, first flew on the 25th of October 1991, and entered service with Lufthansa and Air France in March 1993. Just like the -200, the A340-300 is powered by four CFMI CFM56-5C engines.
First studies for the A340 date back to 1981 when it was designated as the TA11. It was officially launched in June 1987 as a long-range complement to the Aibus A320 short range family and medium-range Airbus A300. Airbus faced a major disadvantage against aircraft such as the Boeing 747 because of the ETOPS proble m since two-engined aircraft had to stay within close range of emergency airfield to allow for engine failures. The Airbus A340 was designed and build in parallel with the A330, explaining many similarities between the two.