What Became Of Emirates’ Airbus A300 Fleet?

UAE flag carrier Emirates is perhaps best known for its enormous fleet of Airbus A380s. While other carriers have fallen out of love with the superjumbo, the Dubai-based airline has made the type work thanks to its hub-and-spoke network mode. However, did you know that it has also operated various other designs? Let’s examine the story of Emirates’ A300 fleet.

Emirates Airbus A300
Emirates received its last A300 in 1995. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Which version of the A300 did Emirates fly?

The A300 was Airbus’s first production airliner, as well as being the world’s first widebody design to only have two engines. It first flew in October 1972, and entered service with Air France in May 1974. Airbus built 561 of these groundbreaking twin-aisle jetliners, in a 36-year production cycle that spanned from 1971 to 2007. The type had several variants.

The two A300 prototypes were known as the B1 variant, with the first production variant being the A300B2. The first A300B4, which had an increased fuel capacity, was delivered in 1975. One version of this was the A300B4-600, which later became known as the A300-600.

This version itself had several sub-variants, and Emirates operated the A300-600R. This had an increased range of 7,500 km (4,050 NM). After 1989, all A300s were built to its specifications. It was also around half a meter longer than the A300B2, at 54.08 m.

Emirates Airbus A300
The variant that Emirates flew was known as the A300-600R. Photo: Kambui via Wikimedia Commons

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When did Emirates’ A300s arrive?

According to data from ch-aviation.com, Emirates operated a total of five A300-600Rs. These aircraft all arrived in the early to mid-1990s, with 1990 itself being the busiest year. Indeed, this particular year saw two arrivals, with A6-EKD coming onboard in June.

A6-EKE then followed shortly after in September 1990, with A6-EKF joining nine months later in June 1991. A delivery hiatus of more than two years then followed, before Emirates received its fourth A300-600R delivery (registered as A6-EKM) in August 1993.

The fifth and final A300-600R to join the Emirates fleet according to ch-aviation’s data was A6-EKO. The Dubai-based UAE flag carrier received this aircraft in March 1995, just under five years after its first had come onboard. All five were delivered brand-new to Emirates.

Iran Airtour Airbus A300
Iran is home to several classic Airbus widebodies, with one of Iran Airtour’s ex-Emirates A300s even having flown as recently as today! Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Where did they end up?

Emirates’ five A300-600Rs ended up serving the airline for between six and 10 years. The first two to arrive were also the first two to leave, and both transferred to Tunisair in 2000. They served the carrier for more than a decade, before being stored in 2013 and 2014.

The shortest spell served by an Emirates A300 was six years, and saw A6-EKO leave for lessor ILFC in 2001. It went on to fly for MEA, Onur Air, and Saudi Arabian Airlines, before a landing without its nose gear damaged the aircraft beyond repair in 2012.

This just leaves the third and fourth A300-600Rs. These both left Emirates after 10 years in 2001 and 2003 respectively for Lufthansa. They now belong to Iran Airtour, with RadarBox.com data showing that one even flew from Tehran to Istanbul earlier today!

Did you know that Emirates used to fly the Airbus A300? Did you ever get to fly on one yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.