The Saab 340 was Saabs entrance in civil aircraft manufacturing. The program was launched in 1980 after a cooperation with the American manufacturer Fairchild. The Saab 340 was supposed to establish the Swedish manufacturer in civil aviation and to become a success in the US-commuter market (thanks to its pressurized cabin). On January 25th 1983 there was the first flight, on June 14th 1984 launching customer Crossair from Switzerland could receive its first Saab SF 340. When Fairchild left the program in 1985, Saab was left alone with its 340A.
The low-wing-aircraft can transport up to 37 passengers. The aircraft is driven by General Electric CT7. Later the 340A was replaced by the Saab 340B. This version got a bigger tail, more powerful engines, an increased takeoff weight and extended range. The first delivery of this version was in September 1989.
For lack of rentability Saab left the civil aircraft manufacturing in 1997. This meant the end of the Saab 340. Over 400 ones had left the hangars in Sweden.