When Germany, France and Great Britain decided to found Airbus in the middle of the Sixties and the project A300 for 300 passengers was presented to satisfy the demand of such a model for medium distances, no American aircraft company would have believed that this company would become their biggest rival one day. Meanwhile only Boeing is left of the famous names. McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed had to say goodbye, and one of the reasons was certainly the uprising of Airbus.
The Airbus A300 didn't conquer the airports of the world at once. Like nearly no other plane the A300 had to fought with problems when launched, though it was actually just the plane the airlines had demanded for a long time. A seating for 300 passengers seemed to be too big at the beginning, and so Airbus ristricted on 250 seats. The constructors had to change the engines, too, as Rolls-Royce had no interests anymore in developing the Airbus engines (as they had concentrated on the TriStar engines). To be able to use other engines like the General Electric CF-6, the A300 had to be modified and to be reduced in size. When Great Britain left the project temporary in 1969, the project Airbus became a cooperation between Germany and France.
Finally there was the first flight of the Airbus A300B1 on September 28th 1972 in Toulouse. But from economic reasons the A300 was stretched to transport 20 more passengers. This Airbus was called Airbus A300 B2. Its certification was in March 1974 and Air France took over the first A300. Shortly afterwards the Airbus A300B4 was released, which had a higher range thanks to its increased takeoff weight.
The A300 was sold very laboured. Only Air France or Lufthansa ordered larger amounts, many airlines rejected their orders. But in contrast to the Concorde, which became an economic desaster, the A300 became succesful when Eastern Airlines ordered 19 A300 in 1978.
In 1983 the first A300-600 with a higher profitability took off. This version had a modern two-men-glasscockpit and wingtips. Launching customer was Thai in 1985. At the end of the Eighties the version -600R with a range of 7700km was developed, 1993 the cargo version -600F was presented.