- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Airbus A310
Airbus A310 - F-OGQU - Aeroflot - Russian International Airlines
Airbus A310-308 F-OGQU (sn 646)
Aeroflot - Russian International Airlines
Photo taken January 31, 2004
Geneva - Switzerland (GVA / LSGG)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Airbus A310 is a medium- to long-range widebody airliner. Launched in July 1978, it was the second aircraft created by Airbus, the consortium of European aerospace companies, which is now fully owned by EADS. The A310 is a shortened derivative of the A300, the first twin-engined widebody airliner.

The A310 (along with the A300) officially ceased production in July 2007 although the last delivery was in June 1998. As of August 2010, 255 A310s have been delivered, 208 of which are still in operation.


In 1977 Lufthansa, Swissair and Continental were said to be seriously considering the A300B10 proposal (then made by Airbus in June 1975), and in April 1978 it was announced that Eastern had placed options on 25 of the aircraft, although these were never converted into firm orders for the type. The increasingly strong interest in the aircraft, coupled with the recovery of the industry in the late 1970s, led Airbus to launching the A300B10, now known as the A310, into production on July 7, 1978 on the back of commitments from Swissair, Lufthansa, and Air France for 35 aircraft announced on July 6, 1978.

Initially, two versions of the A310 were planned, namely the regional A310-100 and the transcontinental A310-200. The A310-100 had a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) with 200 passengers, whilst the -200 had a higher MTOW and centre section fuel, and could carry the same load a further 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km). Basic engines offered included the General Electric CF6-45B2 and Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4 with the Rolls-Royce RB211-524B4 and the CF6-6 regarded as alternatives.

The initial commitments were converted into firm orders during 1979 and, with orders and options from four other airlines, the A310 order book stood at 58 by the end of 1979 with option on further 59.

Swissair was the first airline to place a firm order for the type, announcing that it was to acquire ten with a further ten under option on March 15, 1979 to replace McDonnell Douglas DC-9 series 30s on its major intra-European routes, but it was quickly followed by Lufthansa and KLM who together placed orders and options for a total of 70. Other airlines announcing orders for the A310 during 1979 included Martinair, Sabena, Air France, and Air Afrique.

Sales of the A310 continued and by the time the development A310-200 aircraft made its first flight on April 3, 1982, orders and options for 181 aircraft had been placed by 15 airlines worldwide, a somewhat better start than that of the original A300. It was clear that the longer-range series -200 aircraft was the more popular aircraft and Airbus decided in 1979 to stop offering the low gross weight series A310-100 (originally proposed for Lufthansa), none of which were built.

The range of the A310 exceeds that of the A300-series with the exception of the A300-600, which surpasses the A310-200. The ability of the A310 to go farther than earlier Airbus designs has led to the aircraft being used extensively on transatlantic routes. The A300 and A310 introduced the concept of commonality: A300-600 and A310 pilots can qualify for the other aircraft with one day of training.

Demand for the aircraft started to slow down and there were no new A310 passenger orders during the late 1990s. The A310 (along with the A300) ceased production in July 2007, though five orders from Iraqi Airways remained on the books until July 2008. The remaining freighter sales are to be fulfilled by the new A330-200F derivative.

The A310 was marketed as an introduction to widebody operations for developing airlines. The A310 was replaced in Airbus' lineup by the highly successful A330-200, which shares its fuselage cross-section. Between 1983 and the very last aircraft produced in 1998, 255 A310s were delivered by Airbus.

The A300 and A310 established Airbus as a competitor to Boeing and allowed it to go ahead with the more ambitious A320 and A330/A340 families..


The A310 was a further development of the A300; the aircraft was initially designated the A300B10. Essentially a "baby" A300, the main differences in the two aircraft are:

  • Shortened fuselage: same cross section, providing capacity of about 200 passengers.
  • Redesigned rear fuselage: altered tapering and moving aft of the rear bulkhead created additional capacity. The redesign was also used for the A300-600 and A330/A340 fuselages.
  • Redesigned wing (reduced span and area), designed by British Aerospace who rejoined Airbus consortium.
  • Smaller horizontal tail surface.
  • Later production A310s (from 1985/86) are equipped with wingtip fences to help reduce drag.
  • Modified undercarriage with carbon brakes fitted as standard.
  • Common pylons able to support all type of engines offered for the aircraft.
  • Increased use of composite materials in both primary and secondary structure
  • Electrically signalled spoilers.
  • Integrated drive electrical generators.
  • Improved auxiliary power unit.

Flight deck

The aircraft has a two crew "glass" cockpit as standard using CRT displays in place of the more traditional instrumentation, and modern electronic systems. The A310's flight deck was incorporated into the A300-600 enabling a dual type rating to be achieved. The flight deck has provisions for third and fourth crew seats.


The A310 cabin can accommodate six-, seven-, eight-, or nine-abreast seating. The A310 is certificated for 280 passengers although emergency exit requirements limit the actual maximum number which can be carried to 265 in some instances. The movement of the rear cockpit bulkhead further forward is an option to allow increased cabin volume and hence greater seating capacity. Typical less dense seating configuration include 237 all-economy class at a 34 inch seat pitch; 218 passengers in two-class arrangement for 20 first, at a 38 inch seat pitch, and 198 economy class at a 34in pitch; or on longer routes, a three-class arrangement with 16 sleeper seats, 35 business class at 36in pitch, and 136 economy at 34 in pitch.


The width of the A310 fuselage enables the aircraft to handle up to 14 standard LD3 size containers, eight in the forward hold, six in the aft. Both holds are pressurized as is the bulk cargo hold at the rear which has a volume of 610 cubic feet (17 m3). When the ACT fuel options are installed, LD3 cargo capability reduces to 12 pallets (1 ACT) or 10 pallets (2 ACTs). The total underfloor cargo water volume is 3,606 cubic feet (102.1 m3) with no ACTs.


The A310 was initially launched with a choice of three engines - the General Electric CF6-80A (originally the CF6-45B2), the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D1 and the Rolls-Royce RB211-524B4. The specific Rolls-Royce RB211-524B4 engine intended for this initial application was not developed. General Electric powered A310-200s were originally offered with the CF6-80A3 (A310-203), but with the introduction of the A310-300, the CF6-80C2 became available for both variants. The initial offering was for the 53,000 pounds-force (240 kN) CF6-80C2A2 (A310-204/A310-304) engine and later on the higher thrust 59,000 pounds-force (260 kN) 80C2A8 (A310-308). Similarly Pratt & Whitney powered A310s were first offered with versions of the JT9D engines (both -22s and -300s) but when the PW4000 powered A310 became available in 1987, the aircraft was offered with the 52,000 pounds-force (230 kN) PW4152 (A310-324). From April 1992 the higher thrust PW4156A 56,000 pounds-force (250 kN) was offered for the A310 (A310-325), with the PW4158A 58,000 pounds-force (260 kN) /-326 becoming available from 1996.


The initial production versions of the A310, the -200 had MTOWs of between 132,000 kilograms (290,000 lb) to 142,000 kilograms (310,000 lb) whilst the longer range A310-300 has increased operating weights with an MTOW of between 150,000 kilograms (330,000 lb) and 164,000 kilograms (360,000 lb). The higher weight option has been offered since late 1989, and was available from late 1991 (the first HGW A310-300 was msn 592). The higher weight is achieved by making minor reinforcement to the wing, fuselage, and undercarriage, by adopting higher thrust General Electric CF6-80C2A8 or Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines and by fitting the wheels and carbon-brakes of the A300-600.

Both of the basic versions of the A310 have greater range capability than the slightly larger A300B2/B4 aircraft. With 220 passengers and luggage the A310-200 a typical range of up to 3,600 nautical miles (6,700 km) while the -300 has a range of about 4,300 nautical miles (8,000 km). Range can be increased by adding additional centre tanks (ACTs), with a maximum of two available. Initially one ACT was available, increasing range of the A310-300 to around 4,750 nautical miles (8,800 km). An even longer range A310-300 has been offered since the end of 1989 that combines two ACTs with the high MTOW option of (164,000 kilograms (360,000 lb)), enabling it to carry 220 passengers a distance of 5,150 nautical miles (9,540 km), some 450 nautical miles (830 km) further than is possible with one ACT.

Fuel capacity

The A310-200 total usable fuel capacity is 55,000 litres (15,000 US gal). The total usable capacity is increased to 61,100 litres (16,100 US gal) in the A310-300 by additional fuel in the tailplane trim tank. Further 2,700 litres (710 US gal) can be carried in each of the two additional centre tanks (ACTs) in the forward part of the aft cargo compartment.


The A310 is available in two basic versions, the medium range -200 and the longer range -300. The first version of the aircraft to be developed was the -200 but this was later joined by the -300 which then became the standard production version of the aircraft.

• Airbus A310-200

The first A310, the 162nd Airbus off the production line, made its maiden flight on April 3, 1982 powered by the earlier Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D1 engines. The -200 entered service with Swissair and Lufthansa a year later. Also the late series -200 also featured wingfences just like the -300.

• Airbus A310-200C

A convertible version, the seats can be removed and cargo placed on the main deck.

• Airbus A310-200F

The freight version available as a new build or as a conversion of the existing wide-bodied aircraft. The A310-200F freighter has the capacity to carry 39t of freight over a distance up to 5,950 km.

• Airbus A310-300

First flown on July 8, 1985, the -300 is dimensionally identical to the -200 except for the provision of increased MTOW and an increase in range, provided by additional centre and horizontal stabilizer (trim-tank) fuel tanks. This model also introduced wingtip fences to improve aerodynamic efficiency, a feature that has since been retrofitted to some -200s. The aircraft entered service in 1986, again with Swissair. The aircraft is also provided with a computerised fuel distribution system which allows it to be trimmed in flight resulting in less drag and therefore reduced fuel burn.

No production freighters of the A310 were produced. Operators such as FedEx instead adapt ex-airline A310s into freighters. Most have been the -300 version.

• Airbus A310-300C

A convertible passenger/cargo version, the seats can be removed and cargo placed on the main deck.

• Airbus A310 MRT/MRTT

The A310 has been operated by many of the world's airforces as a pure transport (A310-300 MRT), however several have now been converted to the "Multi Role Tanker Transport" configuration by EADS, providing an aerial refueling capability. At least six have been ordered; four by the German Luftwaffe and two by the Canadian Forces. Deliveries began in 2004. Three were converted at EADS EFW in Dresden, Germany; the other three at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany. The Chilean Air Force has purchased two second-hand A310s to replace its ageing 707-320 'Aguila' tanker and transports. The first was received in October 2007.

Civilian Operators

A list of orders, deliveries, past and current airline operators of the Airbus A310 as of 31 August 2010:

Airline Orders Delivered Still in operation
Aeroflot 5 5
Air Algérie 2 2 2
Air Bagan 2
Deccan 360 3
Air France 11 11
Air India 8 8 11
Air Niugini 2 2
Air Transat 13
Ariana Afghan Airlines 2
Aryan Cargo Express 1
Austrian Airlines 4 4
Balair 4 4
Biman Bangladesh Airlines 2 2 3
British Caledonian 2 2
China Eastern Airlines 5 5
Condor Airlines 5 5
Cyprus Airways 4 4
Cyprus Turkish Airlines 1
Czech Airlines 2 2 1
Delta Air Lines 9 9
Ecuatoriana 2 2
Emirates Airline 8 8
FedEx Express 65
Hapagfly 7 7
Hifly 2
Interflug 3 3
ILFC 7 7
Iran Air 8
Jordan Aviation 2
Kenya Airways 2 2
KLM 10 10
Kuwait Airways 11 11 3
Kyrgyz Trans Avia 3
Lufthansa 20 20
Mahan Air 5
Martinair 2 2
Midwest Airlines 1
MIAT Mongolian Airlines 1
Nigeria Airways 4 4
Oasis Group 2 2
Pakistan International Airlines 6 6 13
Pan Am 18 18
Royal Jordanian Airlines 6 6 5
S7 Airlines 2
Sabena 3 3
Saga Airlines 2
SATA International 4
Singapore Airlines 23 23
Somali Airlines 1 1
Sudan Airways 1
Swissair 9 9
TAP Portugal 5 5
TAROM 2 2 2
Thai Airways 2 2
Trans European Airways 1 1
Turkish Airlines 14 14 4
ULS Airlines Cargo 3
Uzbekistan Airways 1 1 3
Wardair 12 12
White Airways 2
Whitejets 1
Yemenia 2 2 3
undisclosed 7
Totals 255 255 208

List of A310 Executive & Private Jets as of 31 August 2010:

Operator Ord Del Opr
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation 3 3
Belgian Air Component 2
Canadian Forces 5
French Air Force 3
German Air Force 7
Government of Brunei
Government of Chile 2
Government of Pakistan 1
Qatar Amiri Flight 1
Spanish Air Force 2
State of Kuwait 1
Royal Thai Air Force 1 1 1
undisclosed 2 2
Totals 3 3 28

Military operators

The A310 has been used by the armed forces of the following countries:

  • Belgium
    Belgian Air Component
  • Canada
    Canadian Forces Air Command - designated CC-150 Polaris
  • Egypt
    Egyptian Air Force
  • France
    French Air Force
  • Germany
    German Air Force
  • Spain
    Spanish Air Force
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan Air Force
  • Thailand
    Royal Thai Air Force


By the end of production a total of 255 A310s had been ordered and delivered.

 2005   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999   1998   1997   1996   1995   1994   1993 
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 22
 1992   1991   1990   1989   1988   1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   1980 
24 19 18 23 28 21 19 26 21 17 0 0 0

Accident and incidents

Hull-loss Accidents: 9 with a total of 825 fatalities.
Hijackings: 10 with a total of 5 fatalities.

  • 23 March 1994: Aeroflot Flight 593, an A310-300 carrying 63 passengers and 12 crew, crashed in Siberia after the pilot let his son sit at the controls and the autopilot silently and partially disconnected.
  • 31 March 1995: Tarom Flight 371 crashed in Baloteşti next to Otopeni International Airport near Bucharest after a jamming of the throttle on the starboard engine followed by a lack of reaction by pilots.
  • 11 December 1998: Thai Airways International Flight 261 crashed in Thailand.
  • 30 January 2000: Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from Abidjan on 31 January 2000.
  • 12 July 2000: Hapag-Lloyd Flight 3378, an A310-304, crashed during an emergency landing in Vienna due to fuel exhaustion.
  • 9 July 2006: S7 Airlines Flight 778, an Airbus A310-324 jet from Moscow carrying 196 passengers and eight crew, overshot the runway at Irkutsk in Siberia, plowed through a concrete barrier and caught fire as it crashed into buildings. Reports said that 70 of the 204 on board survived, with 12 still missing. Since the accident, casualty figures have fluctuated, in part due to three people boarding the aircraft that were not on the passenger manifest, and some survivors having walked home and assumed to be trapped in the wreckage.
  • 12 March 2007: Biman Bangladesh Airlines Flight BG006, an A310-325 carrying 236 passengers and crew, suffered a collapsed nose gear while accelerating down the runway. Fourteen people suffered minor injuries in the accident at Dubai International Airport. The aircraft came to rest at the end of the runway and was evacuated, but blocked the only active runway and forced the airport to close for nearly eight hours. The aircraft was written off.
  • 10 June 2008: Sudan Airways Flight 109, an A310-300 from Amman, Jordan carrying 203 passengers and 11 crew, veered off the runway after landing at Khartoum International Airport during bad weather. Soon after a fire started in the aircraft's right wing area. As of 12 June reports confirm 30 people were killed with another 6 still missing.
  • 30 June 2009, Yemenia Flight 626, an A310-300 flying from Sana'a, Yemen, to Moroni, Comoros crashed into the Indian Ocean shortly before reaching its destination. The aircraft was carrying 153 passengers and crew; it seems as if there was only one survivor, a 12 year old girl.


  A310-200 A310-200F A310-300 A310-300F
Crew 2
Length 46.66 m (153 ft 1 in)
Height 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
Wingspan 43.9 m (144 ft)
Wing area 219 m² (2,357 ft²)
Wing sweep 28 °
Cross section 5.64 m (18 ft 6 in)
Passengers (2cl) 240 33t cargo 240 33t cargo
MTOW 141,974 kg (312,342 lb) 164,000 kg (361,600 lb)
Empty weight 80,142 kg
(176,312 lb)
72,400 kg 83,100 kg
(183,300 lb)
73,900 kg
Max fuel 55,200 l (14,603 US g) 75,470 l (19,940 US g)
Cruise speed (M) 0.80 (850 km/h.)
Max speed (M) 0.84 (901 km/h.)
Ceiling 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
Thrust (×2) (lb) 50,000-53,200 56,000-59,000
Engines PWJT9D-7R4 or CF6-80C2A2    PW4156A or CF6-80C2A8   
Range 6,800 km
(3,670 nm)
5,550 km 9,600 km
(5,200 nm)
7,330 km

Aircraft model designations

Model Certification Date Engines
A310-203 March 11, 1983 General Electric CF6-80A3
A310-203C November 27, 1984 General Electric CF6-80A3
A310-204 April 23, 1986 General Electric CF6-80C2A2
A310-221 March 11, 1983 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D1
A310-222 September 22, 1983 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4E1
A310-304 March 11, 1986 General Electric CF6-80C2A2
A310-308 June 5, 1991 General Electric CF6-80C2A8 or CF6-80C2A2
A310-322 December 5, 1985 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4E1
A310-324 May 27, 1987 Pratt & Whitney PW4152
A310-325 March 6, 1992 Pratt & Whitney PW4156A
Last updated December 01, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Airbus A310".
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