With today being October 28th, it marks the 50th Anniversary of the Airbus A300’s first flight. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to take a look and see where you can still fly on an Airbus A300 today. Before we get into that, let’s first look at the Airbus A300, and see how the world’s first twin-engine widebody commercial airliner changed the face of modern aviation.

Europe wanted to compete with America

In the 1960s, European aircraft manufacturers like BAC, Hawker Siddeley, and Sud Aviation all desired to build a 200-seat airliner for the civil aviation market. The conclusion was that if the companies mentioned above were all to launch a similar plane, they would not be able to sell enough to cover costs. At the time, it cost British aircraft manufacturers 10% more to build a plane than their US counterparts.

As such, a plan was devised for European planemakers to work together on multinational projects. At the time, Air France and American Airlines were looking for a widebody short-haul twin-engined aircraft to augment their fleets. Deciding to cooperate on building a suitable plane to meet the airline’s demands, they came up with the name “Airbus,” as it was acceptable in English, German, and French.

A300B in final assembly line

Photo: Airbus

With the aircraft designated as the Airbus A300, Sud Aviation was recognized as the lead company, with Hawker Siddeley manufacturing the wings. Several German companies were working on the fuselage, with other elements manufactured in the Netherlands and Spain. To attract United States airlines, General Electric CF6-50 engines were selected over Rolls-Royce to power the A300.

All along, the Airbus program intended to build an aircraft that was smaller, lighter, and more economical to operate than existing three-engined widebodies like the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.

The A300 hits the skies

The prototype of the A300 was revealed to the public on September 28th, 1972, before making its maiden flight from Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS) a month later. Launch customer Air France introduced the plane on May 24th, 1974, on its Paris to London route. In the beginning, sales were sluggish on the back of the 1973 oil crisis and an insistence on airlines buying home-manufactured planes.

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Air France Airbus A300B2

Korean Air approached Airbus about developing a longer-range version of the A300. Airbus agreed and came up with the A300B4. The manufacturer saw vast potential in sales to Asia, with Korean Air as the key to success in the region.

While the A300 was developed for high-volume short-haul flights, many airlines were forced to cut frequencies because of the number of passengers it carried. This allowed others to increase flights with narrowbody planes.

The savior of the A300 was a revised ETOPS rule by the FAA, that allowed twin-engine jets to fly long-haul routes which were previously off-limits. The new ETOPS ruling allowed Airbus to develop the A300 for the new longer routes. During its production run from 1971 to 2007, Airbus built 561 examples of the A300.

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If you want to fly on an Airbus A300, go to Iran

15 years after the A300 was last built, the type now sees limited passenger-carrying action. In fact, it is doubtful that these planes would still be in commercial service if it were not for politics. Following the Iranian Revolution and the US Embassy hostage crisis, the United States and other nations placed sanctions on Iran.

These were later extended during the Iran-Iraq war and remain in place today to combat Iran’s nuclear program. Because of the sanctions, no Iranian airlines have been able to purchase new planes, and they find it difficult to get parts for older aircraft. According to data made available by ch-aviation.com, only six passenger Airbus A300s are still actively flying, all of which are in Iran.

Iran Airtour

Iran Airtour Airlines has a 35-year-old Airbus A300-600 with the registration EP-MNI. The aircraft was delivered new to Lufthansa on May 30th, 1987, and sold to Mahan Air in 2009 before going to Iran Airtour in 2020.

Iran Air

Iran Air has two Airbus A300s that are listed as being active. The younger of these is the 28-year-old A300-600R EP-IBA, delivered brand-new to Iran Air on December 27th, 1994. Meanwhile, 30-year-old A300-600R EP-IBC was delivered new to Olympic Airways on June 7th, 1992, and acquired by Iran Air on March 1st, 2005.

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Meraj Air

Meraj Air has one 27-year-old Airbus A300-600R, registered as EP-SIG. The aircraft was delivered to China Northern Airlines on May 5th, 1995. It then flew for Korean Air and Saha Air before joining Meraj Air on February 23rd, 2016.

Qeshm Airlines

Qeshm Airlines has two Airbus A300-600Rs: the 31-year-old pair of EP-FQK and EP-FQM. EP-FQK was delivered new to Australia’s Compass Airlines on April 2nd,1991. The plane then flew for China Northwest Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Air Niugini, Regionair, and Onur Air before joining Qeshm Airlines on May 18th, 2013.

Meanwhile, EP-FQM was delivered new to Australia’s Compass Airlines on September 19th, 1991. It then flew for China Northwest Airlines, Olympus Airways, and Onur Air before joining Qeshm Airlines on May 18th, 2013.

  • rsz_airbus_50th_years_anniversary_formation_flight_-_air_to_air


    Stock Code:

    Date Founded:

    Guillaume Faury

    Headquarters Location:
    Toulouse, France

    Key Product Lines:
    Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380

    Business Type:

Source: simpleflying.com

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