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Airbus A310 Prototype Retires After 33 Years


The Airbus A310 prototype (MSN 162) was withdrawn from service last Tuesday after flying for 33 years. The A310, developed from the proposed A300B10, first flew on April 3, 1982, and was eventually delivered to Swissair on March 21, 1984. It subsequently flew for Air Liberte from June 1995 to October 1996 and FedEx beginning in 1997. Currently registered N450FE, its last service was on May 24 and was ferried to Victorville for parking on May 26 according to flight tracking website flightaware.com. It is not expected to return to service.

A total of 255 A310s were built from 1982-1998.

FedEx is slowly removing A310s from its fleet and is now down to a fleet of 20 according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database.

Coincidentally, FedEx still flies the MD-11 prototype (MSN 48401). The DC-10 prototype (MSN 46500) was acquired by FedEx in 1997, but was never placed into service and was eventually sold for scrap in 2002.

Photographed in Memphis in 1997 during the early days of FedEx A310 operations is sister ship N416FE, the 26th A310 built. It was withdrawn from service in 2012.


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