The Airbus A300 was the first aircraft produced by Airbus. It was also the first widebody, twin-engine passenger aircraft ever made. Sadly, the model is now way past its prime, but here is a look at the handful of airlines that still operate the type.
The Airbus A300 entered service way back in 1974 with Air France. Production of the type ended in 2007, after a 33-year-run which saw 561 individual aircraft built.
The Airbus A300 was a truly versatile aircraft in its heyday. Not only was it used as a passenger airliner, but several specialized A300s were also developed to serve as freighters, military cargo transports, and even aerial refueling tankers.
As is usually the case with freighters, they tend to stay in service longer than passenger jets. As a result, the majority of the 223 Airbus A300s still in service operate in a freighter capacity.
That leaves just a small handful of Airbus A300s still flying as passenger planes today. As you might expect, the airlines still operating these ancient aircraft are pretty obscure. They also, all bar one, reside within a single country.
Because almost all of the Airbus A300s still in service today are operated by Iranian airlines, it is somewhat tricky to get accurate information about them.
Nevertheless, Mahan Air is the airline with the largest number of Airbus A300s still in service. The carrier bought all 11 of its Airbus A300s between 2009 and 2014, but they were far from new when they entered service with the airline.
All but one of the airline’s Airbus A300s came from Lufthansa, and they range in age between 28- and 32-years-old. The remaining Mahan Air Airbus A300 has flown for both Japan Airlines and Kyrgyz Airways and is significantly younger than its siblings at just 17-years-old.
Despite being Iran’s flag carrier, Iran Air has a smaller fleet than Mahan Air; 35 aircraft compared to Mahan Air’s 46. It also has fewer passenger Airbus A300s in its fleet; just five in total.
Iran Air does, however, operate a sizeable fleet of eight freighter Airbus A300s. Unlike Mahan Air, the carrier did purchase a fair few of its Airbus A300s new from the manufacturer, presumably because it is a government-owned airline.
Tying Iran Air for second place, Qeshm Air also owns five passenger Airbus A300s. Qeshm Air is significantly smaller than Iran Air, with a total fleet of just 18 aircraft. As it operates passenger services only, it also doesn’t have any freighter Airbus A300s.
The final Iranian airline on the list of Airbus A300 operators is Meraj Airlines. The two Airbus A300s Meraj Airlines owns make up a third of its total fleet.
The Iraqi government
The final ‘airline’ operating the Airbus A300 is the Iraqi government. Although it’s not technically a normal passenger aircraft, the Iraqi government’s single Airbus A300 does transport passengers.
You’ve probably noticed that every airline on the list of remaining Airbus A300 operators is in Iran (or Iraq).
This isn’t just a coincidence. There’s a reason Iran is the only country where these aging aircraft still operate. Due to US-imposed sanctions, Iran has to make do with fixing-up its dated aircraft, rather than being able to buy newer ones.
The information for this article was taken from the Airfleets database.
What are your thoughts on the Airbus A300’s last days? Let us know what you think in the comment section.