The end of an era: American Airlines retires its A300s

The end of an era: American Airlines retires its A300s

The final A300 in American Airlines' fleet has been phased out, completing 21 years of service on routes from the U.S. t the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

10 September 2009 Feature story

After 21 years of service from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Central America and South America, the final A300 in American Airlines’ fleet has been phased out.

The carrier’s original order of 25 aircraft – with options that were exercised for 10 more – was a significant commercial breakthrough, as this was the largest order won by Airbus at the time.  It also marked a major win in the North American market.

American Airlines received the initial A300 in 1988, and its fleet was to become an important part of this airline’s history.  Due to the unique capability of the aircraft, it carved out a niche operation in service to Caribbean destinations, along with routes to Central America and the northern part of South America.

For the final flight on August 24, more than 150 guests – including American Airlines employees and Airbus representatives – gathered at Miami International Airport.  A co-sponsored luncheon was organized, and a commemorative coin created for the occasion was distributed.

“For those of us that flew the A300 at American Airlines, it was an aircraft that stole our hearts,” said Delvin Young, American Airlines Chief Pilot - Flight Test. “It was more than an airplane, it was also the character and personality of the people that flew and worked it.  We were an airline within the airline.  We were, and are still, a family – including our friends at Airbus.  We took two great teams and created airline history.”

The final flight began with a special airport salute, as the A300 taxied under a water arch created by the water cannon spray of two fire trucks.   After takeoff, the aircraft departed the Miami airspace for its career-concluding flight to New York’s JFK International Airport.

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