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 John Schmidt (dc8schmidt@twc.com) | Home > 
Airliners nobody wanted part 1 Jan/2019
Some airliners just don't work out. In the 21st century Boeing and Airbus are fully attuned to the demands of the marketplace, and carefully select projects to meet those demands. Yet, somehow both geared up to produce airliners nobody wanted. Of the comparatively few aircraft that actually sold, some were being scrapped at the ripe age of 3 or 4 years old. The A-318, the final shrinkage of the A-320, managed to sell 80 aircraft before buyers were scrapping them for the value of their components.
Failures were certainly not unprecedented. The long range A-340-200 and 500 models flamed out quickly, selling 28 and 37 respectively despite substantial promotion. In earlier years when marketing was less sophisticated some real bombs were produced. The Mercure and VFW-614 spring to mind as totally ignored offerings.
      Following are some postcard memories of these unfortunate airliners.
Album by John Schmidt. 1 - 92 of 92 Total. 9514 Visits.
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Airbus A-318 #1 KCF
The A-318 was conceived as a 107 seat twin that would have a common type rating with the rest of the A-320 family. A slight advantage, but a disadvantage in that similar sized commuter jets could operate under more favorable conditions, such as staffing and landing fees. Unfortunately block hour costs are virtually the same as the 319, which diminishes any advantage it might have had for potential operators.
The card is an excellent Airbus issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

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Air France A-318
A total of 80 318s were constructed between 2003 and 2013. A little over 50 are still active. All of the Air France 318s are  currently in service.
F-GUGA, shown on this Collection Villain Issue was the first 318 delivered to Air France in October 2003.

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British A-318 #1CM
One advantage the A-318 does have is steep approach capability, which British Airways has used for services into London City Airport. British acquired 2 318s in 2009, and operates a Trans Atlantic service with the aircraft from London City.
 Card is a British Airways issue, by courtesy of Charlie Morgan.

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British A-318 #2
This stunning image is a photo, (BA Issued?) of G EUNB in flight. It was sold to Titan in July 2017, leaving a solitary A-318 in British Airways service.

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Comlux Aviation A-318 #1 KCF
The A-318 Elite is equipped with spacious VIP interior and amenities. Comlux Malta acquired the first of these models, shown on this Airbus issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Frontier A-318 #2 KCF
Frontier was the launch customer for the 318, receiving their first of 11 in 2003, and scrapping their final 318 in 2013.
Shown on this excellent Airbus issue is N801FR, the first 318 delivered, which was scrapped in 2012

"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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Frontier A-318 #3 MDS
Shown with the Beluga in the background is N801FR, on another Airbus issue, by courtesy of Mario Da Silva

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LAN Chile A-318
LAN Chile acquired 15 A-318s with deliveries beginning in 2007. Shown in this OKC issue is CC CVA, wearing its delivery registration.

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LAN Chile A-318 #2 KCF
This nice view of the LAN A-318 also wearing its delivery registration is an Airbus Issue, by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu. CC CVA was sold to Avianca Brasil in 2011.

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Mexicana A-318 #1 KCF
Mexicana acquired 10 A-318s from November 2004 through October 2005. This excellent Mexicana issue from Kuo-Ching Fu shows XA-UBR, the 2nd 318 delivered to Mexicana.

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Mexicana A-318 #2 KCF
This earlier Airbus issue shows XA-UBQ, the first Mexicana A-318 in its delivery registration. Upon the collapse of Mexicana in 2010, the A-318s were acquired by Avianca.
"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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TAROM A-318 #1
A nice postcard view of TAROM's YR-ASA, their first A-318 on an OKC issued card.

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TAROM A-318 #2 KCF
Tarom continues to operate a fleet of 4 A-318s, in European inter-city service. This unidentified card shows YR ASB, delivered in 2006 in flight.
"By courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu"
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Airbus A-340-200 #2KCF
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The 200, a smaller companion to the 300, could carry lots of fuel and 240 passengers over great distances. But rising fuel costs quickly made the heavy 4 engined airliner impractical, and more efficient long range twins sealed its fate. The last airline operated 200 was retired in 2017, with only 28 sold. The card is an Airbus issue kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.

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A O M  A-340-200 #1 KCF
The good news was that a lot of A340-200 cards were produced!  F GLZF, shown on this excellent Postcard issue was delivered
to Air France in March of 1994. AOM acquired it in 1999, operating it for a little over 2 years. It went to Royal Jordanian in 2002, where it operated until November 2014.
Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

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Austrian A-340-200 #1 KCF
Austrian took delivery of two 340-200s in 1995 and 1996. They operated long haul flights until 2006, when they were returned to Airbus in favor of 777s.
The card is an excellent Avimage issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Austrian A-340-200 #2bd
The Austrian 340-200s were put in service with the French Air Force and are currently active.
The card above is a very nice Austrian issue, showing OE LAG in flight, by courtesy of Bernd Dienel.

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Cathay Pacific A-340-200 #1
Cathay Pacific operated 2 A-340-200s from 1994 to 1996, prior to receipt of their 300 fleet. They were thoughtful enough to publish this excellent postcard view of their 200.

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Conviasa A-340-200 #1 KCF
Conviasa acquired a single ex Air France 340-200 in 2007, operating until 2015. The airliner had previously operated for Air Tahiti Nui and Air Europa.
The card is an Airbus Issue, shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Egyptair A-340-200 #2
Egyptair acquired 3 A-340-200s in 1996, operating them until sale to Air Leisure in 2014 and 2015.

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Egyptair A-340-200 #3
There were 3 Egyptair issues of the 340-200. Two are posted here, another with rather poor artwork was omitted.

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Egyptair A-340-200 #4 KCF
Airbus also issued this excellent card of SU-GBM in flight. It was delivered to Egyptair in November of 1996, and sold to Air Leisure of Egypt in July of 2015. It was retired in 2017, as the last airline operated 340-200.

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Kingdom of Jordan A-340-200 #1 KCF
A number of the 200s became VIP or government aircraft. JY-ABH, shown on this Czech Postcard issue was originally delivered to Lufthansa in 1993, but went to the Brunei government immediately afterward. There it operated until 2000, when it became the Jordanian Royal Family Transport.. In January 2016 it became a VIP charter aircraft for Skyprime Aviation in Saudi Arabia, and is still active.

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #4
A very nice Lufthansa promotion card featuring D-AIBA, the first A-340 delivered in February 1993

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #2
Lufthansa operated and promoted the 340-200 more than any other airline. This is one of a number of Lufthansa issues featuring this historic airliner.

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #3
A splendid Lufthansa issue showing D AIBC instead of AIBA. Like several other 200s D-AIBC went to South African in 2003.

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #6 KCF
Another excellent postcard view of D-AIBA in flight. After its Lufthansa service it went to South African in 2003. Card is a Japanese issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #8 KCF
Another excellent image of D AIBA, a Lufthansa photo on an unidentified card.
"By Courtesy Of Kuo-Ching Fu"
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Lufthansa A-340-200 #9 KCF
An Excellent Air Gallery Edition showing D AIBA

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Lufthansa A-340-200 #11 KCF
An unusual oversized promotion issue Featuring the first Lufthansa A-340, kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu

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Lufthansa Star Allliance A-340-200 #1 KCF
The historic D AIBA, was later condemned to fly in the garish Star Alliance scheme, which it wore until its sale to South African in 2003.
A Lufthansa issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

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Lufthansa Star Alliance A-340-200 #3 KCF
A Final look at the Star Alliance A-340-200, on an unidentified card.

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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #1
Royal Jordanian acquired the first of their 4 A-340-200s in 2002. All were originally Air France aircraft assembled in 1993 and 1994. Card is a Royal Jordanian issue, possibly pre-delivery.

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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #2
A second Royal Jordanian issue, most likely of JY-AIA, delivered in July of 2002.

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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #3 KCF
Airbus issued this better view of JY AIA, which served Air France from Feb. 1994-1999. It then operated for AOM from 1999-2001, and Air Liberte before joining Royal Jordanian in July 2002.
"CRd by courtesy of Kuo-Ching..."
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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #4 KCF
A rather uncommon Royal Jordanian issue of the 340-200, shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #5 KCF
The most recent Royal Jordanian issue of the 340.

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Royal Jordanian A-340-200 #6 KCF
An outstanding postcard view of F GLZF, which was the AOM aircraft shown in the postcard above. It became JY-AIB upon delivery to Royal Jordanian
"By courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu"
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Sabena A-340-200 #3 KCF
An excellent, and hard to find oversized view of a Sabena 340-200 in its original colors. Card is part of a 75th Anniversary set, shared by Kuo-Ching Fu

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Sabena A-340-200 #2
Another more common Sabena issue, showing an unidentified 340-200.

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Sabena A-340-200 #1
This is a rather drab Sabena issue of their A340-200, OO SCW in the final Sabena colors. Originally an Air France aircraft that went to Sabena in 1996, it passed through AOM and finally became Royal Jordanian JY AIC in 2007. WFU in May 2014.

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Airbus A-340-500 #2
One might think that after the 200 experience, Airbus might be skeptical of producing another long range specialty aircraft. Apparently not, as the 500 was heavily promoted, and as a result, garnered 37 sales.   
Image shown is not a postcard, but an excellent Airbus photo of the beautiful 340-500.

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Arik A-340-500 #1bd
The A-340-500 is a beautiful aircraft, made even more so by the Arik Air Livery. This airliner was built for Kingfisher which was unable to take delivery. Arik operated the aircraft on a lease from Hi Fly of Portugal, which resulted in the registration becoming CS-TFW. A second 340 operated for Arik became CS-TFX
"Card by courtesy of Bernd Di..."
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Arik A-340-500 #2 KCF
The Arik A-340-500 was wfu in february of 2015. This outstanding postcard view of F-WKJH was kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.

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Emirates A-340-500 #1
Emirates was a major user of the 340-500, ordering 10 to be delivered from 2003-2005. Shown is the first Emirates issue
I received.

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Emirates A-340-500 #2
A second Emirates Issue with a similar image. Emirates fleet operated until WFU in the years 2014-2016.

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Emirates A-340-500 #3 KCF
A very nice Airbus issue from Kuo-Ching Fu, showing A6-ERB, the second 340-500 delivered to Emirates. It was WFU in April of 2015.

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Emirates A-340-500 #4
Another excellent view of A6-ERB on an Airbus Issue.

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Etihad A-340-500 #1 KCF
Etihad received 4 A-340-500s in 2006 for their longer segments. Shown on this Etihad issue from Kuo-Chong Fu is their first, A6-EHA. It operated until 2015, and was picked up by the Italian Air Force in February 2016. The others are stored.

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Kingfisher A-340-500 #1 KCF
A beautiful Airbus issue of how the Kingfisher 340-500 would have looked. Sadly, due to financial issues, the Kingfisher Aircraft ultimately operated for Arik Air of Nigeria.
"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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Singapore A-340-500 #1
Singapore had specific plans for the 500, ie non stop flights from Singapore to Newark. But the 500 never really attained its performance guarantees, and Singapore ceased flying the non stops and returned the 500s to Airbus.
  The card is a Skyward issue.

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Singapore A-340-500 #2
In a nice case of making the best of a bad situation, Singapore introduced 100 seat all business class flights to New York, since the aircraft couldn't manage a full load. The 340-500s were returned to Airbus in 2013.
Card is a nice Singapore issue.

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Singapore A-340-500 #3 KCF
One additional impressive view of the 500 is seen on this Ifolor issue by courtesy of Kuo -Ching Fu

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Thai (International) A-340-500 #2 KCF
Thai International likewise acquired 4 340-500s for non-stop Bangkok to US flights from 2005-2007. This Thai International oversized card, shared by Kuo-Ching Fu, is a pre delivery issue, showing the earlier Thai colors

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Thai (International) A-340-500 #1
These beautiful Thai 340-500s flew the Pacific for 5 to 7 years before WFU and storage at Bangkok. HS TLC, the third 500 delivered to Thai in 2007 was sold to the Thai Air Force in 2017, with TT of 21,860 hours. Shown is a very nice Thai issue, believed to be HS-TLB.

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Dassault Mercure #1 KCF
And then there was the Mercure. A beautiful airliner that, really, nobody wanted. In 1967 the Mercure was proposed as a French competitor to the 737 and DC-9s, which already were building up big order books, and developing expanded models.
  It was 1972 before the first prototype flew. Loans from the French government helped to finance the project, which were to be repaid after the 200th delivery, An anticipated production run of 300 was projected. Ultimately 11 were delivered to Air Inter. Sadly, it was really a nice airliner.
  Shown is a splendid card from Kuo-Ching Fu, showing the Mercure in a basic Air France scheme

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Air Inter Mercure #1
The first card of the Mercure was printed by Optilux, and presumed to be Air Inter issue. Shown is SN #2, F BTMD the second prototype which was later delivered to Air Inter and put in service.

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Air Inter Mercure #12 KCF
The previous image was also used for a very rare Air Inter promotional card extolling the convenient schedule from Strasbourg to Paris, and signed ostensibly by "your Mercure"
"Many thanks to Kuo-Ching Fu ..."
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Air Inter Mercure #9 KCF
This Air Inter historical issue shows F BTTE in its original colors. It was built in 1973, and retired in 1994
"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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Air Inter Mercure #3
One of my favorite Air Inter cards is this Avimage issue of F BTTG. It was also issued as a postcard sized photo by Air Inter.

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Air Inter Mercure #4
F BTTJ shown on this Air Inter issue was the final Mercure assembled, joining Air Inter's fleet in December 1975.

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Air Inter Mercure #5
One more Air Inter issue showing  F BTTH, which operated for 20 years, from 1975 to 1995.

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Air Inter Mercure #8 KCF
This splendid Guy Brochot issue shared by Kuo-Ching Fu shows two views of Air Inter's F BTTF.

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VFW Fokker 614 #1a KCF
While it's fair to say that the Mercure was a disaster, the Fokker VFW 614 was absolutely cursed. Maybe it was an omen when the first prototype crashed, and sadly one of the crew's parachutes failed to open.
Incredibly, the aircraft was proposed as a DC-3 replacement, but it didn't replace many DC-3s or any other aircraft for that matter. Shown is a cropped image from a VFW issued card of the third prototype 614, D BABC.

"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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Air Alsace VFW-614 #2
From a projected production of 200-300 airliners, a total of 10 were sold to airlines that essentially matched the target market. Another 4 were sold to government entities.
D-BABE, shown on this Coincard issue became F GATG operating for Air Alsace from 1975 through July, 1980.

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Air Alsace VFW-614 #1
This Choice Aviation Photos issue shows F-GATH, delivered in 1977, and WFU in 1980. It was acquired for parts by DLR.

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Cimber VFW-614 #2
An absolutely beautiful in flight view of the first 614 in service, November, 1975. OY-TOR, SN 4, was delivered in 1975, and retired in November 1979. It is currently on display in Speyer, Germany.
The card is a VFW-Fokker issue.

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Cimber VFW-614 #1
My first card of OY TOR, also a VFW-Fokker Issue. Cimber also operated OY ASA, sn 8, plus, briefly, 3 more demonstrators that were returned by 1978.

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Cimber VFW-614 #3
One final in flight view of OY TOR, also a VFW Fokker Issue.

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DLR VFW Fokker 614 #1 KCF
The last operational 614 belonged to DLR, an aircraft research entity in Germany. D ADAM was aircraft #17, delivered in 1985, and retired in December of 2012. It operated the ATTAS, (Advanced Technologies Testing Aircraft System), for more than 20 years.
"Card by courtesy of Kuo-Chin..."
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Luftwaffe VFW-614 #1 KCF
An excellent Coincard issued in flight card of the first Luftwaffe 614, kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu. This airliner was delivered in 1977, and operated for 20 years. One of 3 Luftwaffe aircraft, 17-01 was the high time 614 at only 10,454 hrs and 12,577 cycles.

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TAT VFW-614 #1
Two VFW 614s briefly flew for TAT in 1976, but were removed from service in February 1977. Initially TAT was contemplating 8 aircraft, but apparently  was not satisfied with the aircraft. This is a nice Coincard issue, but the final TAT livery doesn't appear to be complete. (See following examples)

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TAT VFW-614 #2
One of 2 Editions PI issues of D BABG, which was SN 7. Apparently scrapped after WFU in 1977.

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TAT VFW-614 #3
One final look at D BABG, apparently taken from its sister ship D BABF. The sad existence of the VFW 614 may be the most complete failure in the era of jets, if one doesn't count the East German Baade 152.

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