Values of widebodies continue to face testing times as orders have slowed to a trickle and appetite for used units has waned. The new A340-500/-600 variants have entered service during perhaps the worst downturn that the industry has experienced over the last 30 years. The demise of Swissair hasmeant that the A340-600s on order with the previous flag carrier had to be sold to SAA, while extracting new orders has proved difficult. Deliveries of the first -600s destined for SAA were completed last month, three months later than planned, after having to undergo changes to the specification. Both the -500 and -600, however, are also to undergo modification to the center landing gears after cracks were discovered. The order book for the -500 and -600 stood at 20 and 52, respectively, at the end of 2002, compared to five and 56 for the competing B777-200LR and B777-300ER. In such an environment, current and residual values for the new A340 variants, particularly, the -500, have been "On Watch" status.
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