In response to market demand for its newer aircraft ranges Airbus will progressively phase out the A300/A310 final assembly. This follows more than 35 years of successful marketing and production of Airbus' original aircraft programme. The last A300-600 aircraft on order will be handed over in July 2007.
"It is in Airbus' best business interest to optimise the use of its resources at this time. We are implementing a major production ramp-up across our business as the A300/A310 programme nears completion. This is in response to growing demand from our customers for the newer Airbus products like the A321, the A330/A340 family and the new A350 aircraft, that cover or even go beyond the market segment of our original aircraft programme," Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert said.
"The A300/A310 programme launched the Airbus success story and with a total of 821 orders it has surpassed all commercial expectations. The spirit behind the A300/ 310 continues into the 21st century, most recently with the A380 and the A350 programmes," Mr. Humbert said. "I wish to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all customers and all Airbus employees who have participated over the years in designing, developing, marketing and building these exceptional aircraft."
During the last two years, around 150 Airbus employees produced about one aircraft a month on the A300/A310 final assembly line. All employees involved in the A300/A310 production will be offered new positions in other current or future programmes. Airbus is currently undergoing a ramp-up phase with significant internal demand for this skilled and experienced workforce. It is expected that deliveries of Airbus aircraft will surpass 400 in 2006, up from 378 in 2005.
The A300, launched in May 1969 and entering service with Air France in May 1974, was the very first wide-body twin ever brought to the market, setting totally new standards in the industry. With the A310, launched in July 1978 and entering service in April 1983 with Lufthansa and Swissair, Airbus again set new standards with the first two-man cockpit on a wide-body, introducing digital technology and cathode ray tube (CRT) displays for the first time. These technological advances enabled Airbus to establish its credibility as a reliable manufacturer with a vision of the future, setting the foundation for its current success.
The A300/A310 programme has achieved a total of 821 orders. 803 aircraft have been delivered until the end of February 2006. The order backlog comprises A300 freighter aircraft to be delivered to Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), Galaxy Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines. Airbus plans to offer new freighter versions of current aircraft when the A300/A310 programme will be completed.
To date, there are more than 650 A300s and A310s in service with about 80 operators worldwide. It is expected that the A300s and A310s will continue their operational life for many years with half of the fleet expected to still be in operation beyond 2025. Airbus' "Long term fleet support programme" will support their operability until the very last aircraft is retired from service.
Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.