Airbus has told Etihad Airways that the A340-600 wrecked at Toulouse during pre-delivery checks had completed its engine test-runs and was exiting the test area at the time of the accident.

Etihad Airways had been due to take delivery of the A340 on 21 November. Five of the nine personnel on board the Rolls-Royce Trent 500-powered jet were injured when it struck the wall of the engine-test pen, destroying the forward fuselage.

A spokesman for Etihad confirms that the aircraft has been written off.

 © Remy Gabaldi / AP Photos


Neither Airbus nor French investigation agency BEA has given further information about the circumstances of the accident.

But the Etihad spokesman says that Airbus has told the carrier that the engine test-run had already been completed beforehand, and that the A340 had been making its way out of the pen. The pen is located 500m southwest of a point lying about 1,000m along the length of Toulouse Blagnac Airport’s runway 32L.

The spokesman says: “The whole aircraft and its contents were insured by Airbus as the aircraft was operating under a temporary French registration [F-WWCJ] until 21 November when Etihad was set to have the aircraft delivered.”

But he says that the short-term impact on Etihad’s network arising from the loss of the aircraft is “not expected to be significant” because the A340 was initially due to act as a spare to cover heavy maintenance of the A340-600 fleet. Etihad has two of the type.