The Airbus A310 is a medium to long-range widebody airliner. Launched in 1978, it was the second aircraft created by the Airbus consortium of European aerospace companies, which is now fully owned by EADS. The A310 is a shortened derivative of the A300, the first twin-engined widebody airliner. The A310 (along with the A300) officially ceased production in July 2007 although the last delivery was in June 1998.
The range of the A310 exceeds that of the A300-series with the exception of the A300-600, which surpasses the A310-200. The ability of the A310 to go farther than other planes has led to the aircraft being used extensively on transatlantic routes. The A300 and A310 introduced the concept of commonality: A300-600 and A310 pilots can qualify for the other aircraft with one day of training.
Demand for the aircraft started to slow down and there were no new A310 passenger orders during the late 1990s. The A310 (along with the A300) ceased production in July 2007, though five orders from Iraqi Airways remained on the books until July 2008. The remaining freighter sales are to be fulfilled by the new A330-200F derivative.
The aircraft was formally launched in July 1978 for Lufthansa and Swissair. A further development of the A300, the aircraft was initially designated the A300 B10. Essentially a "baby" A300, the main differences in the two aircraft are
The A310 was marketed as an introduction to widebody operations for developing airlines. The A310 was replaced in Airbus' lineup by the highly successful A330-200, which shares its fuselage cross-section. Between 1983 and the very last aircraft produced 1998, 255 A310s were delivered by Airbus.
The first A310, the 162nd Airbus off the production line, made its maiden flight in April 1982 powered by Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines. The -200 entered service with Swissair and Lufthansa a year later. Also the late series -200 also featured winglets just like the -300.
A convertible version, the seats can be removed and cargo placed on the main deck.
First flown in July 1985, the -300 has an increased MTOW and an increase in range, provided by additional centre and horizontal stabilizer (trim-tank) fuel tanks. This model also introduced wingtip fences to improve aerodynamic efficiency, a feature that has since been retrofitted to some -200s. The aircraft entered service in 1986, again with Swissair. No production freighters of the A310 were produced. Operators such as FedEx instead adapt ex-airline A310s into freighters. Most have been the -300 version.
A convertible passenger/cargo version, the seats can be removed and cargo placed on the main deck.
The A310 has been operated by many of the world's airforces as a pure transport (A310-300 MRT), however several have now been converted to the "Multi Role Tanker Transport" configuration by EADS, providing an aerial refueling capability. At least six have been ordered; four by the German Luftwaffe and two by the Canadian Forces. Deliveries began in 2004. Three were converted at EADS' Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Dresden, Germany; the other three at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany. The Chilean Air Force has purchased two second-hand A310s to replace its ageing 707-320 'Aguila' tanker and transports. The first was received in October 2007.
The A310 has been used by the armed forces of the following countries:
Accident and incidents
* 157,000 kg is standard for the -300, 164,000 kg is an option.
By the end of September 2008 a total of 255 A310s had been ordered and delivered.
Published - July 2009
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