|A Trent 500 turbofan mounted on an Airbus A340-600 of Lufthansa.|
|First run||May 1999|
In 1995, Airbus began considering an engine for two new long-range derivatives of its four-engined A340 aircraft, designated A340-500/-600. The existing -200 and -300 models were powered by CFM International CFM56 engines. However, the CFM56 was at the limit of its development capability, and would be unable to power the new A340-500/-600. In April 1996, Airbus signed an agreement with General Electric to develop a suitable engine, but decided not to proceed when General Electric demanded an exclusivity deal on the A340. After a contest with Pratt & Whitney, Airbus announced on 15 June 1997 at the Paris Air Show that it had selected the Trent 500 to power the A340-500 and -600.
The Trent 500 first ran in May 1999 and achieved certification in December 2000. It entered service on the A340-600 with Virgin Atlantic Airways in July 2002 and on the ultra-long range A340-500 with Emirates in December 2003.[a] After production of the Airbus A340 ended in 2011, a total of 131 A340-500/-600 have been delivered with 524 Trent 500 engines altogether; Lufthansa is the largest operator, with 24 delivered A340-600.
The Trent 500 powers the Airbus A340-500 and A340-600. It was certificated at 60,000 lbf (270 kN) thrust, but derated to 53,000 lbf (240 kN) as the Trent 553 to power the A340-500, and to 56,000 lbf (250 kN) as the Trent 556 for the A340-600 and A340-500HGW. However, a 60,000 lbf (270 kN) version is installed in the A340-600HGW (High Gross Weight), a higher-performance version of the A340-600. The Trent 500 has the same wide-chord fan as the Trent 700, together with a core scaled from the Trent 800.
Concrete studies began in April 1996, when Airbus and General Electric signed an exclusive agreement to study engine requirements for a stretched A340. GE pulled out in February 1997, but Rolls-Royce came in with an offer for the Trent 500, and this engine was confirmed on a non-exclusive basis in June 1997.