Frankfurt, Germany and Dublin, Ireland are two key European hubs for air travel. The route between the two is a competitive one: Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and Ryanair all operate scheduled flights along this corridor. These are the domain of narrowbody aircraft, but did you know that, in the summer of 2019, Lufthansa also sent the A340 to Dublin?
Lufthansa flew the A340-300 to Dublin on a weekly basis. Photo: Lufthansa/Gregor Schlaeger
Weekly widebodies every Wednesday
In May 2019, Lufthansa caused significant excitement among the European aviation community. The cause of this was the German flag carrier’s announcement that it would be flying its four-engine Airbus A340-300s between Frankfurt and Dublin on a weekly basis that summer. According to Routesonline, these services ran from July to October 2019.
The outbound service to the Irish capital took the flight number LH978. The return leg back to Germany’s busiest airport was numbered as LH979. The Irish Aviation Research Institute reported at the time that the final data for these rare intra-Europe widebody flights would be October 30th that year. Lufthansa cited ‘operational reasons’ for the change.
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D-AIGS kicked off Lufthansa’s FRA-DUB A340 services. Photo: Gerard van der Schaaf via Flickr
D-AIGS Bergisch-Gladbach operated the inaugural service on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019. This reportedly marked the first scheduled A340-300 service to the Irish capital since TAP Air Portugal deployed the Airbus widebody on Faro-Dubin flights in the mid-1990s.
Not always a flawless operation
The unlikely presence of a four-engine widebody on a short European hop was too much for many avgeeks in the region to resist. However, one rotation was unable to live up to its promise. The second week of the flights saw the rostered A340 unable to make the trip from Frankfurt to Dublin and back due to a technical issue discovered after boarding.
This led to an A330 filling in, and heading to the Irish capital a few hours late. While still a widebody aircraft, this didn’t quite have the same four-engine novelty of the rostered A340. As it happened, I was on the delayed return flight from Dublin back to Frankfurt myself.
July 10th, 2019 saw an A330 deputize for a faulty A340 on LH978/9. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying
The packed nature of the replacement A330 showed that Lufthansa was definitely right not to use its regular A320 family narrowbodies on these rotations. Overall, it was still interesting to fly on the A330 within Europe, despite the planned A340’s absence.
Other short-haul A340 flights
In the end, Dublin was not the only short-haul destination to which Lufthansa sent its A340s during the summer of 2019. Indeed, Routesonline notes that the German flag carrier also deployed the A340-300 on services to Lisbon from July 2nd that year.
The stretched A340-600s also got in on the act, flying to Lisbon alongside the -300. These commenced on July 1st, 2019, as did Frankfurt-Vienna A340-600 flights. The Irish Aviation Research Institute notes that Cairo was also an A340 destination that summer.
Did you know that Lufthansa had operated the A340 on its Frankfurt-Dublin route? Perhaps you even traveled on one of these rare intra-Europe widebody flights yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
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