The Airbus A340-8000 might be the world’s most unique plane

  • The Airbus A340-8000 is a spin-off variant of the A340
  • ‘8000’ refers to the range of 8000 nautical miles
  • It was acquired by the government of Saudi Arabia

Published on Jun 03, 2024 at 4:19 PM (UTC+4)
by Alessandro Renesis

Last updated on Jun 13, 2024 at 6:36 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

This is the Airbus A340-8000, a unique aircraft built for an incredibly specific purpose, and for a special client.

This is not really a term people use when it comes to aircraft, but this is as close to a ‘one-off’ as you can get.

It’s still in one piece but, unfortunately, no longer operational.

READ MORE: Airbus A380 evacuation slide system is so hypnotic we can’t stop watching

The 8000 was designed as a spin-off version of the European quadjet Airbus A340, and it was built for the Sultan of Brunei.

In other words, it was supposed to be a private jet.

But it became clear from the get-go that this aircraft was going to live a lonely life.

Pictured below: Airbus A340 in the -500 (left) and -300 (right) configuration

Right after being ‘delivered’ in 1998, the aircraft spent several months parked at Berlin Schoenefeld Airfield.

It took over a year just to complete the interior.

Speaking of which, the interior of the A340-8000 was massive, with over 20 VIP cabins, a concert hall, and a three-deck setup with a lift to go from one ‘floor’ to the other.

From a technical standpoint, it was still powered by the same quadjet system but it was fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks to turn it into a long-haul aircraft, with a fuel capacity of 8,000 nautical miles (that’s where the name comes from), which is around 14,800 km.

In 2007, after spending ten years parked in Germany, almost without ever flying, it was acquired by the Saudi Arabian Government.

Saudi Arabia has an impressive fleet of airliners that essentially used like private jets, from the massive jet that was used to chauffeur soccer players around to the similar aircraft Neymar used.

This probably explains why they sort of ‘forgot’ about it, and the jet has been parked since September 2023.

In nearly 25 years, the jet has barely moved at all.

It’s a shame, really.

# Tags - Airplanes, Planes


Alessandro Renesis

Experienced content creator with a strong focus on cars and watches. Alessandro penned the first-ever post on the Supercar Blondie website and covers cars, watches, yachts, real estate and crypto. Former DriveTribe writer, fixed gear bike owner, obsessed with ducks for some reason.