Airbus A300

Background Engines Development Variants History Design Operators Specifications

MAX Seating Capacity



Fuel Capacity

21,805 L


Max Engine Thrust

84.1–103.6 kN (18,900–23,300 lbf)


Service Ceiling

41,000 ft (12,497m)

SU-BMZ Airbus A300B4-203 Tristar Air (Cargo) AMS 2.7.04, photo found on flickr by Colin Cooke Photo


Photo by Colin Cooke Photo on Flickr

The Airbus A300, the world's first twin-engine widebody aircraft, was officially launched on May 29, 1969, during the Paris Air Show, by French transport minister Jean Chamant and German economy minister Karl Schiller. The Airbus A300 was the first twin-engine widebody aircraft in the world. The project was formally launched after French transport minister Jean Chamant and German economy minister Karl Schiller signed an agreement. Following an agreement between Aérospatiale (the newly combined Sud Aviation and Nord Aviation) of France and the precursors to Deutsche Aerospace of Germany, Airbus Industrie was formally constituted on December 18, 1970. Each received a 50% ownership in the newly formed firm. The consortium added a third full partner in 1971, the Spanish corporation CASA, which obtained a 4.2 percent ownership, while the other two members reduced their stakes to 47.9% each. Airbus Industrie's headquarters were first situated in Paris, where design, development, flight testing, sales, marketing, and customer support operations were concentrated; however, in January 1974, the headquarters were transferred to Toulouse. The A300's final assembly plant was situated near Toulouse Blagnac International Airport. Each aeroplane section manufactured by the partner businesses across Europe had to be transported to this one location as part of the production process. Because the components were airlifted in this fashion, each manufacturer was able to produce fully outfitted, ready-to-fly assemblies. In 1974, the first production model was introduced, followed by the A300B4 a year later. By 1979, 14 airlines had ordered 81 A300 passenger ships, with 133 firm orders and 88 options. The Airbus A320, which first flew in 1987, cemented Airbus' position as a significant participant in the aviation industry, with almost 400 orders placed before the narrow-body airliner's first flight, compared to 15 for the A300 in 1972.

A300 bus engine, photo from flickr by enrique


Photo By enrique on Flickr.

The A300 is powered by a pair of underwing turbofan engines, either General Electric CF6 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D; the A300's unique use of underwing engine pods allowed for the choice of any acceptable turbofan engine. The lack of a third tail-mounted engine, as seen on some rival airliners, allowed the wings to be moved forward and the vertical stabiliser and elevator to be shrunk, resulting in improved flying performance and fuel economy.

A300 FedEx rolling for cargo ramp. MROC / SJO. found on flickr by Bernal Saborio


Photo By Bernal Saborio on Flickr.

The Airbus A300 was Europe's second major collaborative aircraft programme, following the Anglo-French Concorde. Sud Aviation was chosen as the A300's principal firm, with Hawker Siddeley chosen as the British partner. The total cost of the programme was $4.6 billion (in 1993 Dollars). The news of the announcement was obscured at the time by the British government's backing for the Airbus, which coincided with its unwillingness to fund BAC's intended competitor, the BAC 2–11, despite British European Airways' preference for the latter (BEA). Hawker Siddeley spent £35 million of its own money on machine tooling in order to develop and manufacture the A300B's wings. In response, West Germany suggested to France that if France agreed to do the same, they would be ready to contribute up to 50% of the project's expenditures.

Lufthansa A300 Myrtle Avenue,Heathrow,Mar 2008, photo from flickr by allen watkin


Photo By allen watkin on Flickr.


Only two A300B1s were built: the first prototype, F-WUAB, afterwards F-OCAZ, and the second aircraft, F-WUAC, which was leased to Trans European Airways (TEA) in November 1974 and re-registered OO-TEF. The aircraft was immediately subleased to Air Algérie for six weeks, although TEA continued to operate it until 1990. With a maximum weight of 132 tonnes (291,000 lb) and two General Electric CF6-50A engines of 49,000 lbf (220 kN) thrust, it could carry 300 people (TEA) or 323 passengers (Air Algérie). The A300B1 was only 50.97 m (167.2 ft) long, five frames shorter than later production variants.


This is the initial version of the product. It entered service with Air France in May 1974, powered by General Electric CF6 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines (the same engines that powered the 747 or the DC-10) with thrust of between 51,000 and 53,000 lbf (227 and 236 kN). The prototype A300B2 flew for the first time on June 28, 1973, and was certified by the French and German authorities on March 15, 1974, followed by FAA clearance on May 30, 1974. The first production A300B2 (A300 number 5) took to the skies on April 15, 1974, and was delivered to Air France on May 10, 1974. The A300B2 began commercial service between Paris and London on May 23, 1974.


The main production variant had a centre fuel tank with a capacity of 47,500 kg (104,700 lb), as well as new wing-root Krüger flaps that were subsequently made available as an option for the B2. A total of 248 B2 and B4 were produced. The A300B4 (the 9th A300) flew for the first time on December 25, 1974, and was certified on March 26, 1975. On May 23, 1975, the first delivery was made to Germanair (which eventually merged with Bavaria Germanair).


The A300B4-600 is a little longer variant of the A300 than the B2 and B4, with more internal capacity thanks to the adoption of the A310 rear fuselage and horizontal tail. It employs the Honeywell 331-250 auxiliary power unit and has higher-power CF6-80 or Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines (APU). Other alterations include a redesigned wing with a recambered trailing edge, single-slotted Fowler flaps, the elimination of slat fences, and the removal of the outboard ailerons, which were judged unneeded on the A310. The inaugural flight of the A300-600 took place on July 8, 1983, and it entered service with Saudi Arabian Airlines later that year. There were 313 A300-600s sold in total (all variations). The A300-cockpit 600's is identical to the A310's, however it uses digital technology and electronic displays instead of a flight engineer. The FAA offers a single type rating that permits both the A310 and the A300-600 to fly.

A300B10 or A310

Swissair and Lufthansa were among the first to purchase the A310 (then known as the A300B10). The first prototype flew for the first time on April 3, 1982, and achieved type certification on March 11, 1983. There were 255 aircraft constructed until the last delivery in June 1998, when it was replaced by the bigger Airbus A330-200. The same GE CF6-80 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D then PW4000 turbofans were used. It was developed into the Airbus A310 MRTT military tanker/transport and has cargo aircraft variants.

A300-600ST or Airbus Beluga

These five airframes, also known as the Airbus Beluga or "Airbus Super Transporter," are used by Airbus to ferry parts between the company's various manufacturing plants, allowing for workshare distribution. They took the place of Airbus' four Super Guppys from Aero Spacelines.

Airbus A300, photo from flickr by ER Bauer


Photo By ER Bauer on Flickr.

The A300 has been engaged in 77 incidents as of June 2021, including 24 hull-loss accidents that resulted in 1133 fatalities and 36 criminal incidents and hijackings that resulted in 302 fatalities.

Fatal Incidents

EgyptAir's Airbus A300B4-203 landed 700 metres (2,300 feet) above the runway threshold on September 21, 1987. The aircraft impacted with an antenna and fencing after the right main gear struck with runway lights. There were five deaths among the crew. There are no passengers. PIA Flight 268 was an A300B4 that crashed on approach in Kathmandu, Nepal, on September 28, 1992. The 12 crew members and 155 passengers were all killed. In Nagoya, Japan, on April 26, 1994, China Airlines Flight 140 (Taiwan) crashed near the end of the runway, killing all 15 crew members and 249 of the 256 passengers on board. Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 was approaching Polonia International Airport in Medan on September 26, 1997. The jet then crashed into a ravine near Buah Nabar as a result of an ATC mistake and a haze that blankets the area, limiting vision. In Indonesia's worst catastrophe, all 234 passengers and crew members perished. China Airlines Flight 676 (Taiwan) crashed into a residential area at CKS international airport near Taipei, Taiwan, on February 16, 1998. All 196 individuals on board were murdered, including the president of Taiwan's national bank. Seven persons were killed on the ground as well. Shortly after departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor, a neighbourhood in Queens, New York, United States. After the rudder was mishandled during wake turbulence, the vertical stabiliser ripped off the aeroplane. All 260 individuals on board, as well as five people on the ground, were killed. It is the second-deadliest A300 crash to date, as well as the second-deadliest aircraft crash on American territory. AeroUnion Flight 302, an A300B4-203F, crashed into a road 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) off the runway while attempting to land at Monterrey airport in Mexico on April 14, 2010. Seven persons were killed (five crew members and two on the ground). UPS Flight 1354, an Airbus A300F4-622R, crashed beyond the outer fence as it approached Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, on August 14, 2013. Both members of the crew died.

Hull Loss Incidents

Malaysian Airline System Route 684, a leased Airbus A300B4 with the registration OY-KAA, fell short of the runway at Kuala Lumpur in poor weather while attempting to land on a flight from Singapore on December 18, 1983. The 247 people on board were uninjured, but the plane was destroyed in the ensuing fire. After hitting with a light post while being pulled back at Montpellier on April 24, 1993, an Air Inter Airbus A300B2-1C was written off. On March 1, 2004, Pakistan International Airlines Flight 2002 took off from King Abdulaziz International Airport with two tyres that had ruptured. The engines absorbed tyre fragments, which caused the engines to catch fire, resulting in an aborted launch. The aircraft was written off due to extensive damage to the engine and left wing caused by the fire. All 261 passengers and 12 staff members made it off alive. The nose wheel of an Air Contractors Airbus A300B4-203(F) EI-EAC operating flight QY6321 on behalf of EAT Leipzig from Leipzig (Germany) to Bratislava (Slovakia) collapsed during roll out after landing at M. R. tefánik Airport in Bratislava on November 16, 2012. The aeroplane was written off, but all three crew members were unhurt. The plane was still parked at a remote region of the airfield between runways 13 and 22 as of December 2017. An Airbus A300B4-200F Freighter operated by Egyptian Tristar freight carrier crashed in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 12, 2015. The passengers and crew members were all unharmed in the incident.

Violent Incidents

Air France Flight 139, originating in Tel Aviv, Israel, and carrying 248 passengers and a 12-person crew, took off from Athens, Greece, on its way to Paris, France, on June 27, 1976. Terrorists hijacked the aeroplane, which was finally flown to Uganda's Entebbe Airport. Israeli troops freed 102 of the 106 hostages at the airport. Thai Airways Flight 620, an Airbus A300B4-601, originating in Bangkok, experienced an explosion mid-flight on October 26, 1986. The plane quickly descended and made a safe landing in Osaka. The plane was later repaired, and no one was killed. The reason was a hand grenade thrown into the plane by a Yamaguchi-gumi Japanese criminal. A total of 62 individuals were injured out of the 247 on board. The USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf after it was misidentified for an assaulting Iranian F-14 Tomcat, killing all 290 passengers and crew members. Two Kuwait Airways A300C4-620s and two Boeing 767s taken during Iraq's takeover of Kuwait were destroyed in a coalition bombardment of Mosul Airport on February 15, 1991. Four terrorists from the Armed Islamic Group hijacked Air France Flight 8969 at Houari Boumedienne Airport in Algiers on December 24, 1994. On Boxing Day, the terrorists allegedly planned to crash the airliner into the Eiffel Tower. After taking off from Baghdad International Airport on November 22, 2003, European Air Transport OO-DLL, operating on behalf of DHL Aviation, was attacked by a SA-14 'Gremlin' missile. The plane's hydraulic pressure was gone, and the controls were lost as well. The crew controlled the jet utilising variances in engine thrust after extending the landing gear to produce additional drag and landed the plane with minimum more damage. The plane was restored and put up for sale, but it was still parked at Baghdad International Airport in April 2011. Afriqiyah Airways' A300B4-620 5A-IAY and Libyan Arab Airlines' A300B4-622 5A-DLZ were both destroyed in fighting between pro- and anti-Gadaffi troops at Tripoli International Airport on August 25, 2011.

UPS Airbus A300, photo from flickr by Cory Barnes


Photo By Cory Barnes on Flickr.

The Airbus A300 is the world's first twin-engine wide-body plane. A pair of underwing turbofan engines, either a General Electric CF6 or a Pratt & Whitney JT9D, power the aircraft. On the A300, Airbus partners used cutting-edge technology, some of which was borrowed from Concorde. Other sophisticated features were the Forward-Facing Crew Cockpit, which allowed a two-pilot flight crew to operate the aircraft without the need for a flight engineer, whose responsibilities were automated; this two-man cockpit idea was a world-first for a wide-body aircraft. Airbus uses the Beluga, a large cargo-carrying variant, to transport aeroplane pieces between its production locations.

BoneYard | Victorville, photo by Bill Wilt on Flickr


Photo By Bill Wilt on Flickr.

There were 231 A300 family aircraft in commercial service as of June 2021. FedEx Express (71), UPS Airlines (52), European Air Transport Leipzig (22), Mahan Air (13), and Iran Air were the top five operators (11).


specifications table