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Airbus A300 facts for kids

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Libyan Arab Airbus A300 JPTA.jpg
Libyan Arab Airlines A300B4-600R taking-off from Malta International Airport in 2002
Role Wide-body jet airliner
National origin Multi-national
Manufacturer Airbus
First flight 28 October 1972
Introduction 30 May 1974 with Air France
Status Out of production, in service
Primary users FedEx Express
UPS Airlines
European Air Transport
Mahan Air
Produced 1974–2007
Number built 561
Variants Airbus A310
Developed into Airbus A330
Airbus A340

The Airbus A300 is a jet airliner which was made by Airbus. Airbus Industries launched the plane in 1972, and it was the first plane with two engines to have more than one isle between the seats (the first twin-engined wide-body aircraft). The A300 can hold 266 passengers in two classes. It can fly for a maximum of 4,070 nautical miles (7,540 km) when it is full, but this depends on the type of A300.

Air France was the first airline to get an A300. Air France began to use its A300s on 30 May 1974. Airbus stopped making A300s in July 2007. When Airbus stopped making A300s, it also stopped making A310s. The freighter version of the A300 has been replaced by the A330-200F.


American Airlines Airbus A300-600 inbound to John F. Kennedy International Airport
An American Airlines A300B4-605R landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
A300 Iran Air EP-IBT THR May 2010
Iran Air Airbus A300 landing at Mehrabad International Airport
A Lufthansa A300B4-603 taking off from London Heathrow Airport, England

In 1966, Frank Kolk, a member of American Airlines, asked for a plane to replace the Boeing 727. He wanted a plane which could hold 250 to 300 passengers, with two engines. American plane makers made planes with three engines, like the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, because the FAA had banned planes with two engines from flying on certain routes.

In September 1967, the British, French, and German governments agreed to begin designing the Airbus A300, which would have 300 seats.

After this agreement, both the French and British governments were worried about the plane. The plane needed a new type of engine from Rolls-Royce, the RB207. In December 1968, the French and British companies (Sud Aviation and Hawker Siddeley) thought of a different design: the Airbus A250, which would have 250 seats. This design had its name changed to the A300B, and it did not need a new type of engine, which saved money. To get more U.S. airlines to buy the plane, American General Electric CF6-50 engines were used for the A300 instead of Rolls-Royce engines. The British government was upset and decided to stop supporting the A300. However, Hawker-Siddeley did not leave, and designed the wings for the A300.

In 1972, the A300 flew for the first time. The first type of A300 to be made, the A300B2, began to be used by airlines in 1974. The A300B4 began to be used one year later. At first, Airbus Industrie did not sell many planes. However, by 1979, 81 aircraft were being used. It was the A320 which made Airbus the very big company that it is today.

Parts of the A300 were made by many different companies from all over Europe. These were taken to Toulouse-Blagnac by some Aero Spacelines Super Guppy aircraft so that the parts could all be put together to make the plane. This method turned out to be much better than simply building the aircraft in one place. (Source?)


Airbus A300 cross section
Airbus A300 fuselage in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany
Mahan air a300b4-600 ep-mnr lands birmingham arp
Mahan Air Airbus A300B4-600 landing at Birmingham International Airport, England

Some of the technology used for the Airbus A300 was taken from Concorde. When it began being used in 1974, the A300 was an advanced plane. Some advanced features were:

  • Advanced wings by de Havilland
  • Some parts made from metal billets, which saved weight
  • Wind shear protection
  • Autopilots which could fly the plane all the way from takeoff to landing.

A300s made later have other features, like:

  • A glass cockpit
  • The ability to move fuel around, which changes the plane's centre of gravity
  • Wingtip fences (first used on the A310-300).


Air France Airbus A300B2 1974 Fitzgerald
Air France A300B2 at Farnborough Airshow in 1974

The A300 did not sell very well at first. Most of the orders were from airlines of countries which made up Airbus Industrie, like Air France and Lufthansa.

In 1974, Korean Air ordered 4 A300s. This made it the first airline outside of Europe to order an Airbus Industrie plane. Airbus Industrie thought that South-East-Asia was a good place to sell planes. It also thought that Korean Air was the 'key' to selling planes in that area.

Airlines which used the A300 to fly on short flights needed to have fewer flights so that the aircraft could be filled, so these airlines lost customers to other airlines which used smaller aircraft and had flights more often. Eventually, Airbus had to make the A320 to rival the Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9/MD-80.

In 1977, Eastern Air Lines leased four A300s. Frank Borman, who was the CEO of Eastern, was happy that the A300 used much less fuel than the planes the airline already had. He ordered 23 A300s. After this, Pan Am also ordered some A300s. From then on, many A300s were sold, and 878 planes were given to airlines.

The body of the A300 was made longer (on the A330 and A340), shorter (on the A310), or was changed (for the A300-600ST Beluga Super Transporter).

In March 2006, Airbus said that it was no longer making the A300/A310. The last A300 first flew on 18 April 2007. It was delivered to FedEx on 12 July 2007.

Different types of Airbus A300

A300 Zero G
The ZERO-G A300 at Cologne Bonn Airport, Germany.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A300 Fitzgerald
Airbus A300B4-200 of Singapore Airlines at the Farnborough Airshow in 1980.


Only two of these were built: the prototype, and a second aircraft. It can hold 300 passengers or 323 passengers, and it has two General Electric CF6-50A engines.


The first version to be made for airlines. It had General Electric CF6 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines. Air France was the first airline to use it, in May 1974.


The version which was made the most. The first A300B4 made its first flight on 25 December 1974. Germanair got the first one on 23 May 1975.


This type's official name is the A300B4-600. It has more powerful CF6-80 or Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines, and it has the Honeywell 331-250 auxiliary power unit (APU). The A300-600 began being used in 1983 by Saudi Arabian Airlines The A300-600 also has a different cockpit (similar to the A310), so the flight engineer was not needed for this type.

A300B10 (A310)

This type is shorter and does not need a flight engineer. It can also be used as a military plane. It is currently being used by the Canadian Forces and German Air Force. 260 of these planes were sold, but five of these were never made.


As of 2010, the A300 has had 54 accidents. There have been 26 hull-losses. 1,434 people have died on A300s. A hull-loss accident is an accident where the plane is completely destroyed, or if it is damaged so much that it cannot be fixed.

Aircraft still flying

As of July 2020, there are more than 200 A300s still flying.


Measurement A300B4 A300-600R A300-600F
Length 53.62 metres (175.9 ft) 54.08 metres (177.4 ft)
Wingspan 44.84 metres (147.1 ft) 44.85 metres (147.1 ft) (with wing fences)
Height 16.62 metres (54.5 ft)
Width 5.28 metres (17.3 ft)
Cruising speed mach 0.78 (833 km/h, 518 mph, 450 knots at 35,000 ft)
Maximum speed mach 0.86 mach 0.82 (876 km/h, 544 mph, 473 knots at 35,000 ft)
Engines CF6-50C2 or JT9D-59A CF6-80C2 or PW4158
Cockpit crew Three Two



Model Date Engines
A300B2-1A 1974 General Electric CF6-50A
A300B2-1C 1975 General Electric CF6-50C
A300B2K-3C 1976 General Electric CF6-50CR
A300B4-2C 1976 General Electric CF6-50C
A300B4-103 1979 General Electric CF6-50C2
A300B4-120 1979 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-59A
A300B2-203 1980 General Electric CF6-50C2
A300B4-203 1981 General Electric CF6-50C2
A300B4-220 1981 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-59A
A300B4-601 1988 General Electric CF6-80C2A1
A300B4-603 1988 General Electric CF6-80C2A3
A300B4-620 1983 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4H1
A300B4-622 2003 Pratt & Whitney PW4158
A300B4-605R 1988 General Electric CF6-80C2A5
A300B4-622R 1991 Pratt & Whitney PW4158
A300F4-605R 1994 General Electric CF6-80C2A5 or 2A5F
A300F4-622R 2000 Pratt & Whitney PW4158
A300C4-605R 2002 General Electric CF6-80C2A5


Total 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991
Deliveries 561 6 9 9 12 8 9 11 8 8 13 6 14 17 23 22 22 25
1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974
Deliveries 19 24 17 11 10 16 19 19 46 38 39 26 15 15 13 8 4

Data until the end of December 2007.

Related pages

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  • Gunston, Bill (2009). Airbus: The Complete Story. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84425-585-6.
  • Norris, Guy and Mark Wagner (1999). Airbus. Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-0677-X.

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