A340-500 backlog slashed to five as Airbus restructures orderbook

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Airbus has restructured its A340-500 order book as part of the transfer of slots from Kingfisher Airlines to Arik Air, which has seen the backlog for the ultra-long-range widebody slashed to just five aircraft.

In the airframer's latest sales update (to 30 September), Kingfisher's order for 10 A340-500s has been reduced to just three aircraft. According to Airbus data, the airline originally ordered the Rolls-Royce Trent 500-powered aircraft in two batches - five in November 2006 and five in December 2007.

Airbus says that "two amendments have been signed with Kingfisher: the conversion of five A340-500s into five A330-200s, and the cancellation of two A340-500s".

This boosts Kingfisher's A330-200 orders to 20 aircraft, of which five have been delivered (powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines).

The two cancelled Kingfisher A340s have been re-allocated to Nigeria's Arik Air (one of which was delivered on the same date as the order contract - 30 September).

When the Arik Air deal was announced last month, it was for three aircraft. However only two are counted in the September backlog as "all conditions were not fulfilled in time to include the third A340-500 in the orderbook", says Airbus. "We are just finalising last details and the third aircraft will be in the October orderbook."

The September changes leave Airbus with just five A340-500s on backlog - three for Kingfisher, one for Arik Air and one VIP aircraft for an undisclosed customer. Total A340-500 orders stand at 33 aircraft.