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Most of the still flying A310s are ex-passenger aircraft converted to freighters.
The Airbus A310 is a widebody twin-engined aircraft for medium- and long-range flights, seating about 200-220 passengers. It was the second aircraft type developed by the European consortium Airbus Industrie.
Competing with the 767
The A310 competed head-on with the Boeing 767. The main difference between the two aircraft is the fuselage diameter. The A310 has the same diameter as the A300 allowing eight-a-breast seating (2-4-2). The narrower 767 offers seven-a-breast seating (2-3-2). Thanks to the wider fuselage the A310 can accommodate standard LD3 containers in its belly in a more efficient way than the 767 can. These containers are also used in the DC-10, 747 and TriStar. Some of the early A310 customers, like Lufthansa and KLM, chose the Airbus aircraft because of the better LD3 accommodation.
The first flight of the A310 took place on April 3, 1982, and one year later Lufthansa and Swissair introduced the new aircraft on their route systems. Airbus has built a total of 255 A310s. The last A310 was delivered in 1998, although there was still an order in the books for five A310s for Iraqi Airways, which were never built. The final assembly of the A310 took place on the same production line as the A300. Many ex-passenger Airbus A310 aircraft are converted to freighters. The German Luftwaffe flies a number of aircraft converted to aerial tanker/transports, referred to as A310MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport).
Air Malta leased this A310 for a short time from Lufthansa.
Of the Airbus A310 two main versions exist:
The standard version is the A310-200. It was available with General Electric CF6 and Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines. A proposed Rolls-Royce version was never built. Airbus delivered one A310-200C (Convertible) with cargo door and strenghtenend cabin floor for the Dutch charter airline Martinair.
The Airbus A310-300 is a long-range version with higher weights and increased fuel capacity. The overall dimensions are the same as of the A310-200. To find additional fuel capacity, the tailplane interior is used as a kerosene tank. The A310 was the first airliner to have this feature. An advanced fuel transfer system makes it possible to change the centre of gravity position of the aircraft during flight to decrease drag.
An A310 freighter of TMA of Lebanon.