Airbus A310

A310-300 Air India  Airbus

One of the difficulties faced in the early days by the Airbus consortium was the lack of guidance of what passenger capacity the airlines wanted. At one stage 11 variants were proposed of varying lengths to suit different airlines.  While the A300 was under development, Airbus looked at a smaller capacity variant, which was in much demand by many carriers. Thus was born the A310.

The fuselage was essentially the same as the A300, except it was considerably shorter.  Much commonality allowed the development and manufacturing costs to be kept to a minimum. The wing and horizontal tail surfaces were new, including a high-technology design wing from BAe of much reduced area and span. From the outset the cockpit was a forward facing two-crew area, with advanced digital avionics.

The A310 was officially launched in July 1978, offering a capacity between 210 to 250 passengers in mixed-class layouts.  The prototype (F-WZLH) first flew 3rd April 1982 and on 11th March the following year received French and West German certification.  In April the launch customers Lufthansa and Swissair began services. Since then sales have been healthy, including a major order from US carrier Pan Am.

The basic production version is designated the A310-200, and since May 1986 these have been delivered with drag reducing wingtip fences.  The A310-200C and A310-200F are convertible and all-cargo versions respectively.  The first major variant was the A310-300 with extended range. First flying on 8th July 1985, this variant has wingtip fences as standard, additional fuel in the tail-plane and an optional central tank fitted in part of the cargo hold.  Swissair was again the first customer, and in the hands of carriers such as Wardair these regularly make transatlantic crossings.

 A310-300 Air India © Airbus

Country of origin

European Union

First Flight


Entered Service









 A310-300: two 59,000-lb (262.4-kN) General Electric CF6-80C2A8
 or 56 000-lb (249.1-kN) Pratt & Whitney PW4156A turbofans.


 A310-300: cruising speed at 31,000 ft (9160 m) Mach 0.80;
 max operating altitude 40,000 ft (1220 m);
 max range, at max weight with PW4166A engines 5,984 miles
 (9630 km)


 A310-300: with CF6-80C2A8 engines:
 operating, empty 179,920 lb (81610 kg)
 maximum take-off 330,676 Ib (160000 kg)


 A310-300: span 144 ft (43,89 m); height 51 ft 10in(15.80m);
 length 153 ft 1 in (46.66m)



 A310-300: two (flight deck), maximum of 280 passengers,
 standard layout 210-250

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