Andrew Doyle/MUNICH

Airbus A340-600 launch customers Lufthansa and Swissair are jointly specifying and procuring flight simulators for the new type from Canada's CAE Electronics in an effort to cut service-entry training costs.

Lufthansa has ten of the four-engined, long-range, widebodied aircraft on firm order for delivery from mid-2003, but will receive its first CAE simulator a year earlier for installation at its Frankfurt training centre. The device will initially be used to train crews for third-party customers who will be among the first to take delivery of A340-600s, from mid-2002.

Swissair, which has 11 of the 380-seat stretched A340s on firm order, will install its simulator at its Zurich base.

"CAE's parallel production of the two simulators, plus Lufthansa Flight Training's collaboration with Swissair in the acceptance programme and in monitoring the project, can save...a bundle of money," says Lufthansa.

The Swiss flag-carrier has, meanwhile, linked with another A340-600 customer - Virgin Atlantic- in an unprecedented joint contract for $100 million-worth of Honeywell avionics.

This will include weather radars with predictive windshear protection, Quantum communications and navigation equipment, Pegasus flight management systems, air data/inertial reference systems, solid-state flight data and cockpit voice recorders, enhanced ground proximity warning systems, satellite communications and HFradios.

Virgin Atlantic is due to be the first airline to take delivery of an A340-600, in March 2002.

The joint avionics order is unusual in that there is no alliance relationship between the two European airlines. Virgin says the joint specification was for "commercial reasons" and "not part of a wider co-operation". It is believed Virgin will later contract Swissair overhaul unit SR Technics to maintain its A340-600s.

Source: Flight International