The first flight of the Airbus A340-600 was scheduled for 23 April, with only unforeseen technical snags or bad weather likely to prevent the longest-fuselage version in the Airbus family from getting airborne.

"The target is Monday," Airbus confirmed as Flight International went to press. On 20 April the technical preparations were going to plan and the weather forecast was satisfactory. The first flight will last at least 3h, but Airbus says that the crew will fly longer if all is going well and they feel happy to go further into the flight envelope. Progress will be monitored by the Airbus flight test centre, which will receive real-time performance information by datalink.

The 56,000lb-thrust (250kN) Rolls-Royce Trent 500-powered A340-600, with a fuselage length of 75.3m (247ft), is almost 12m longer than the existing -300. The 63.45m wingspan has been stretched 3.15m.

Source: Flight International