On 12JUL2007, Airbus delivered an A300 freighter to FedEx, the final A300/A310 that the manufacturer will produce. The program was launched in 1969, the first A300B (the first Airbus actually!!) took its maiden flight on 28OCT1972 and the first aircraft was delivered to Air France in 1974. Over these decades (almost forty years) Airbus sold 821 of the family, that included the A310 as well. About 630 of those are still in service, with approximately 80 operators. After a slow start in sales, when the word spread around airlines how efficient and useful this plane is, sales started to pick up. It is considered as the best selling freight aircraft in history, with only FedEx operating more than 120 A300Fs/A310Fs. According to the manufacturer, about 200 of this aircraft family is planned to be in service beyond 2025 as well, and they will continue to provide their long-term fleet support program to the operators “until the very last aircraft is retired from service.”
You can also watch a short movie of historic images from the life of the A300/A310s and the early day of Airbus at the manufacturer’s website.