Airbus is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the entry into service of its first aircraft – the A300B – operated by Air France as the launch customer.
An A300B2 version handed over to French flag carrier on 10 May 1974. It was the world’s first twin-engine widebody commercial aircraft when the industry-accepted standard was three or four engines. The 270-seat A300B2 design laid the foundation for the current generation of Airbus’ widebody aircraft.
Airbus’ product line began with the A300/A310 jetliners and developed into the best-selling A320 single-aisle family, the A330 and A340, the double-deck A380 and the new widebody A350 XWB.
Following the A300B2, the series would later add the increased-range A300B4, along with the A310-200 and extended-range A310-300 – shortened fuselage versions of the A300 that introduced two-man crew operations. Rounding out Airbus’ cornerstone product line was the A300-600, which offered increased space, higher-power engines and a similar cockpit to the A310.
Airbus’ deliveries of A300/A310 aircraft continued until the program’s final production aircraft of the type – an A300 Freighter – joined FedEx’s fleet in 2007. Starting in 1974, 878 A300/A310 Family aircraft have been manufactured. Even today, over 400 of these are still in service with 65 customers.