Today, Airbus rivals Boeing for the title of the world’s leading airliner manufacturer. But it was a very different story some 50 years ago when Europe planned to build the world’s first widebodied twin-engined jet airliner. Charles Kennedy examines the highs and lows of the game-changing Airbus A300.

Iran Air was an early supporter of the Airbus project in the 1970s and acquired nine A300B2s and B4s; today it is the last operator of passenger A300s, keeping the type in service due to sanctions imposed on the country following the 1979 revolution. The purchase of four more modern A300- 600Rs (pictured) was allowed in 1988 as compensation for the shoot down of one of the A300B2s over the Straits of Hormuz by the US Navy. Noret

In the immediate years after World War Two, the civil airliner market was dominated by the US, benefiting from a huge domestic market and an industrial infrastructure untouched by the ravages of confiict.

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