The aircraft that launched Airbus

Nearly fifty years ago the Airbus adventure started with the A300B, an innovative response to airlines’ requirements. In 1972 the world’s first wide-body twin-aisle commercial aircraft performed its maiden flight, the first steps towards changing the face of modern aviation.

The A300B and its followers, the A300-600 and the A310, had a rather slow start, but as their reputation for economy and reliability spread among airlines, they went on to become market leaders in short to medium haul passenger operations, and the best selling freight aircraft ever. With more than 820 aircraft sold, the A300/A310 Family ultimately included variants, new build and converted freighters, combis, air tankers, military and VIP transport, and Airbus’ fleet of five A300-600ST Belugas.

The constant design evolution across the family, along with the integration of new technology and materials, earned it a place in aviation with many industry “firsts”: the first two-man forward facing cockpit for a twin-aisle, the first application of composites on secondary, then primary structures, the first use of electrical signalling for secondary controls and the introduction of both drag-reducing wingtip devices and centre of gravity control.

Such innovation ensured the A300/A310 Family maintained levels of economic and operational performance that continued to attract new customers and generate airline profits well into the 21st century.

Today, a third of Airbus’ customers operate A300/A310 Family aircraft as part of a wider Airbus fleet and more than 200 of the 650 aircraft currently flying with some 80 operators will still be in service in 2025. The A300/A310 Long Term Support team will ensure that maximum customer satisfaction is maintained throughout the lifecycle of the A300/A310 Family.


The twin-engine Airbus A300B was designed to be smaller, lighter and more economical to operate than its three-engine competitors.

Discover more Airbus history


The full aircraft history

1968 to today


Airbus history

Through the decades

Commercial Aircraft History 1970-1972

First order first flight


Champagne... and drought (1973-1977)

Champagne…and drought