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Airbus heralded a new era in long distance air travel with the roll-out of the most advanced widebody airliner ever built, the Airbus A340. Capable of flying further non-stop than any other civil aircraft, the A340 is uniquely different from all other members of the Airbus family in that it is the first with four engines. It was rolled out of the giant assembly plant in Toulouse to the applause of more than 5,000 airline and civil aviation leaders from around the world. Designed as the perfect option for profitable operations on “long thin” routes, the aircraft is available in two versions, with the -200 version carrying 262 passengers in a typical three-class configuration up to 14,400 kilometres and the larger -300 series, carrying 295 passengers up to 12,500km. When it takes off on its first test flight the A340 will be the most advanced passenger aircraft in the skies, using developments of the computer driven “fly-by-wire” technology which has made the 150-seat Airbus A320 the fastest-selling aircraft.


Other important events:


1830 Belgium proclaims its independence from the Netherlands.

1853 Turkey declares war on Russia.

1895 The first US Open golf tournament is held, at the Newport Country Club on Rhode Island.

1910 Portugal’s King Manuel II flees to England on the outbreak of revolution in Lisbon.

1930 Former presidential candidate Getulio Vargas leads a revolt in Brazil and later becomes president.

1957 The Soviet Union puts the first spacecraft, Sputnik, into orbit around earth, heralding the start of the space age.

1958 British Overseas Airways begins first trans-Atlantic passenger jetliner service with flights between London and New York.

1966 The British colony of Basutoland becomes independent as the Kingdom of Lesotho.

1980 Jordan becomes the first Arab state to openly support Iraq in its war with Iran.

1985 Kidnapped US diplomat William Buckley is executed in Beirut.

1988 Brazil enacts new constitution, completing long-awaited ‘transition to democracy’.

1990 German lawmakers meet in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

1992 The Mozambique government and rebels sign a peace treaty to end 15 years of civil war.

1993 Two US Blackhawk helicopters headed to capture a local warlord are shot down in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

1995 Veteran mercenary Bob Denard frees the Comoran president, ending a six-day coup.

1997 Spain’s Princess Cristina marries Olympic handball star Inaki Urdangarin in a glittering ceremony.

1999 Palestinian and Israeli negotiators agree on terms for the first-ever safe passage route between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

2001 A Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile brings down a Russian airliner over the Black Sea, killing all 78 people on board

2002 John Walker Lindh, a US citizen captured by US forces while he was fighting with Afghanistan’s Taliban militia, is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

2003 For the first time all Omani citizens above 21 years are given the right to vote for the 83-seat advisory council.

2008 Poland turns over control of an area south of Baghdad to American troops.

2012 Former Philippines president Gloria Arroyo is arrested at a hospital after being charged a case of alleged corruption.

2014 Former Haitian president Jean Claude Duvalier dies of heart attack.