While the A300 was under development, Airbus looked at a smaller capacity variant. The A310 was officially launched in July 1978, offering a capacity between 210 to 250 passengers in mixed-class layouts. The second aircraft of Airbus, the A310-200 has a shorter fuselage than the A300 and first flew on 3 April 1982 as a 191-280 short/medium-range wide-body airliner. French and West German certification was received on 11 March 1983 and in April 1983 the launch customers Lufthansa and Swissair began services.
The fuselage was essentially the same as that of the A300, except shorter, allowing the development and manufacturing costs to be kept down. The wing and horizontal tail surfaces were new, including a high technology wing from BAe of much reduced area and span. The cockpit was a forward-facing two-man area, with advanced digital avionics.
Since May 1986 the basic production version, the A310-200, 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 8 July 1985, this variant has wingtip fences as standard, additional fuel in the tailplane and an optional central tank fitted in part of the cargo hold. Swissair was the first customer.
The first A310 to be converted to an in-flight refuelling role was revealed at Dresden, Germany in 2004. The A310MRTT has pods added to the outer ends of its wings and four auxiliary tank/containers installed in the lower cargo hold. The aircraft can also be used as an airborne hospital with up to six intensive-care units and 56 stretchers or, as a combined cargo and troop-transport version, can carry 12 pallets and 54 troops.
Airbus indicates additional fuel cells with the abbreviation ACT (Additional Centre Tank), first used on the A300-600 and A310-300. This tank is installed in the forward part of the rear hold, aft of the main landing gear bay, and displaces two LD3 containers. (An additional tank may also be installed at the expense of more baggage/cargo space.)
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW4152 turbofans, 220kN
Take-off weight: 157000 kg / 346128 lb
Empty weight: 70275 kg / 154931 lb
Wingspan: 43.89 m / 143 ft 12 in
Length: 46.66 m / 153 ft 1 in
Wing area: 219 sq.m / 2357.29 sq ft
Max. speed: 1038 km/h / 645 mph
Cruise speed: 850 km/h / 528 mph
Range: 9175 km / 5701 miles
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney PW4152 turbofan, 52,000lbs thrust OR General Electric CF6-80C2A2 turbofan, 52,000lbs of thrust.
Length: 153.08ft (46.66m)
Width: 144.03ft (43.90m)
Height: 51.84ft (15.80m)
Empty Weight: 178,111lbs (80,790kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 361,556lbs (163,999kg)
Maximum Speed: 560mph / 902kmh / 487kt
Maximum Range: 5,965miles (9,600km)
Service Ceiling: 42,651ft (13,000m)
Accommodation: 8 + 220