Discontinuation of the A340 potentially offers a mechanism to reduce weight, as there would be no need to maintain structural commonalities between the two types. While the A330 would have been structurally different as a "clean sheet" aircraft, Airbus would need to assess whether there is room to make any economical alterations on its production line.
All three major engine manufacturers offer A330-300 power-plants. There is no immediate evidence that Airbus is considering re-engining the A330, a move which would essentially bring the airframer back to the original A350 - a concept which received a tepid response from the market when first promoted as a Boeing 787 rival. Airbus is giving little away, although it has indicated further details could be released during the Farnborough air show.
"As part of Airbus's philosophy, we are continuously looking at the market and studying further improvements to our portfolio," said the airframer. "Any decision on whether to proceed will happen in the second half of 2012."
Source: Flight Global