Airbus is to introduce a modification to its A340-500/600 designed to reduce aerodynamic drag in cruise.

The airframer disclosed the change during a briefing at its Hamburg facility on Tuesday.

Airbus is modifying the upper belly fairing panels at the wing root, and is intending to conduct verification flights on its A340-600 test aircraft from mid-2009.

Director of A340 product marketing Alan Pardoe says the change is designed to improve inboard wing pressure distribution.

He says the airframer expects this to reduce drag by around 1% at cruise speeds.

Airbus will introduce the modification on production A340s from late 2009, and provide a retrofit for in-service aircraft.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news