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Short-Haul Quadjets: SWISS’ European Airbus A340 Routes This Summer


  •  The A340 is an increasingly rare aircraft type
  •  SWISS is used to its A340 flying within Europe, alongside long-haul operations
  •  In summer 2023, it has five intra-Europe routes

SWISS has four Airbus A340-300s. Like other four-engined widebodies in service with airlines worldwide, SWISS’ examples are a diminishing part of its fleet. While the carrier’s average A340 route length this summer covers more than 4,200 miles (6,759 km), it continues using them on short European routes – always great to see.

SWISS’ A340-300s across Europe

The flag carrier is no stranger to using its Airbus quadjet sub-fleet on short intra-Europe routes. It has done so irregularly for years, with Cirium indicating more regular flights from 2017 onwards.

While the A340 is rare enough nowadays, it is even rarer on short routes. But do not get too excited. ‘Only’ five routes see them in summer 2023, as shown below. This year, the season runs from March 26th until October 28th.

Image: GCMap.

The A340’s first intra-Europe service this year was on March 27th, when Flightradar24 shows that 20.1-year-old HB-JMC was deployed from Zurich to Malaga. On the last summer day, October 28th, the type is set to go to Palma, ending SWISS’ short-haul operations with the type this year.

Flights within Europe

As this article was written on August 24th, it is worth considering where SWISS’ 215-seat A340-300s will still fly before the end of October. This is summarized in the following table.

To capture more leisure demand, most of the flying is on weekends. First isn’t being sold, but premium travelers will be able to enjoy the long-haul business class, albeit briefly.

Zurich to…Flight(s)*Dates (from August 24th)Departure times from Zurich
Palma13August 26th, September 4th, 9th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 25th, 30th, and October 7th, 14th, 21st, 28thVaries: 09:35, 12:10, or 12:25
MalagaSixAugust 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and September 3rd, 10th10:05, but at 08:30 on the 3rd
AthensFourAugust 28th, September 2nd, 9th, 16th14:15 departure, except on the 28th, when it is 13:15
PortoTwoSeptember 17th, 24th14:35
GenevaOneSeptember 30th07:25
* Each way
Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying.

What about long-haul routes?

SWISS will also use the A340-300 on four long-haul routes between August 27th and October 28th. They are to Johannesburg (daily), Hong Kong (six weekly), Montreal (five weekly), and Shanghai (four times: August 30th, September 13th and 27th, and October 11th).

This winter, its network shrinks to three routes: Hong Kong (daily), Shanghai Pudong (six weekly), and Miami (daily from March 3rd to 30th only).

The past 20 years

In addition to the various short- and long-haul destinations mentioned in this article, Cirium shows that SWISS’ A340s have also operated scheduled flights (even if just one) to 45 other airports from Zurich in the past 20 years. They are spread across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Johannesburg has seen its quadjets more times than any other destination, followed by Tokyo Narita, São Paulo, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. But Tel Aviv wins the prize for the most served shortest destination, served by the A340 frequently until 2016 and less often after that.

Are you planning to fly the type soon? If so, let us know where you’re going by commenting.

Source : Simple Flaying