SAS retires its final Airbus A340

The flag carrier becomes the latest operator to complete the accelerated retirement of its A340 fleet due to the impact of COVID-19

Stockholm-based Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has retired its last Airbus A340, ending the quadjet’s 19-year run with the flag carrier. 

The aircraft, OY-KBM (c/n 0450) an A340-300, departed Copenhagen Airport yesterday just before 7.00am local time bound for Tuscon, Arizona. Almost exactly 11 hours later, the 19-year-old widebody touched down at the US facility. 

​​​(​​​Photo: ​Flightradar24)

Shortly after arriving in the States, Bravo Mike then flew what is arguably one of its shortest-ever flights between Tuscon and Marana Pinal Airpark on the other side of the city. The flight lasted only 18 minutes.  

Reaching a peak altitude of just under 7,000ft – the ADSB track had all the hallmarks of a hand flown VFR rotation. The jet departed runway 11L before making a left hand 180 degree turn to follow Interstate 10 all the way to Pinal Airpark. 

(Photo: Flightradar24)

The jet was delivered new to SAS in February 2002 and flew for the carrier for the next seven years when it was withdrawn from use in August 2009. Portuguese wet-lease specialist, Hi Fly then leased the aircraft from the flag carrier and subsequently sub-leased it to Air Algerie in August 2010.

In January 2012, the quadjet was returned from the lease and then reconfigured with 14 fewer seats for a total of 247 and repainted in a special Star Alliance livery. 

The flag carrier exclusively operated the -300 series version of the A340. Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory

SAS has operated a total of eight A340s since 2001 and retired seven of them between February and July this year.