The Airbus A300 is a wide-body airliner developed and manufactured by Airbus. In September 1967, aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a large airliner. West Germany and France reached an agreement on 29 May 1969 after the British withdrew from the project on 10 April 1969. European collaborative aerospace manufacturer Airbus Industrie was formally created on 18 December 1970 to develop and produce it. The prototype first flew on 28 October 1972.
|A300 in Lufthansa livery showing its twinjet configuration with underwing podded turbofans (2004)|
|First flight||28 October 1972|
|Introduction||23 May 1974 with Air France|
|Primary users||FedEx Express|
European Air Transport Leipzig
|Variants||A300-600ST Beluga |
|Developed into||Airbus A330|
The first twin-engine widebody airliner, the A300 typically seats 247 passengers in two classes over a range of 5,375 to 7,500 km (2,900 to 4,050 nmi). Initial variants are powered by CF6-50 or JT9D turbofans and have a three-crew flight deck. The improved A300-600 has a two-crew cockpit and updated GE CF6-80 or PW4000 engines; it made its first flight on 8 July 1983 and entered service later that year. The A300 is the basis of the smaller A310 (first flown in 1982) and was adapted in a freighter version. Its cross section was retained for the larger A340 (1991) and A330 (1992). It is also the basis for the oversize Beluga transport (1994).
Launch customer Air France introduced the type on 23 May 1974. After limited demand initially, sales took off as the type was proven in early service, beginning three decades of steady orders. It has a similar capacity to the Boeing 767-300, introduced in 1986, but lacked the 767-300ER range. During the 1990s, the A300 became popular with cargo aircraft operators, as passenger airliner conversions or as original builds. Production ceased in July 2007 after 561 deliveries.