Airbus is to close its A300 and A310 production line next year, marking the first time the European airframer has phased out one of its aircraft models.
It follows diminishing demand for the jets and Airbus’s desire to focus attention and resources on newer types.
The last aircraft on order, an Airbus A300-600, will be delivered in July 2007 after which the final assembly line will be closed and its 150 personnel transferred to other positions. Airbus secured orders for 561 A300s and had delivered 547 of these by the end of January. All the outstanding deliveries were for A300-600 freighters: six for FedEx, five for UPS, two for Air Hong Kong and one for Galaxy Airlines.
Its A310 line accumulated orders for 260 aircraft of which 255 were delivered; the outstanding order comprised a batch of five A310s originally destined for Iraqi Airways. There are no A310s currently in production.
The Flight International World Airliner Census for 2005, which is compiled from the ACAS fleet database, showed the total A300 global fleet last August standing at 407, with an outstanding backlog of 49. However, late last year UPS cancelled 37 of these A300-600F, reducing the backlog to 17 aircraft - all freighters. The A310, meanwhile stands at a global total of 200 with the unfulfilled pre-Gulf War order for five from Iraqi Airways likely to formally be cancelled as part of the announcement.
“It is in Airbus’s best interests to optimise the use of its resources at this time,” says Airbus president and chief executive Gustav Humbert. “We are implementing a major production ramp-up across our business as the A300 and A310 programmes near completion.”
Airbus’ A300 was the first model to be developed by the company and conducted its maiden flight in October 1972, entering service with Air France two years later. First flight of the A310 followed in 1982 and the type entered service the following year with Lufthansa and Swissair. It is pictured below in Pakistan International Airlines colours.
DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW / LONDON